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Sonuyi, Esperanza Bowl Over Mission Viejo


Authorities are still searching for an elusive young man who was spotted darting across the field at Valencia High on Friday night, knocking aside or spinning around anyone who tried to stand in his way.

He was wearing a maroon jersey with yellow pants, armed with a football and considered extremely dangerous. The Mission Viejo defense was urged to use caution.

The charge against Esperanza running back Temitope Sonuyi? It could be assault, judging from the way he battered the Diablo defense. Or burglary, after Sonuyi deprived Mission Viejo of any real chance to stay in the No. 3 Aztecs' 35-21 victory.

The senior rushed for 296 yards (the highest total by a county player this season) and five touchdowns in 38 carries, answering the call every time the Diablos crawled back into the contest.

"I think he's got more in him," Esperanza Coach Gary Meek said of his star running back, who hasn't committed to a college.

Sonuyi sprinted 65 yards down the sideline for a touchdown on his first carry of the game and amassed 198 yards and three touchdowns by halftime. His other touchdowns came on runs of seven, 16, one and three yards.

Sonuyi's performance was aided by his friends along the offensive line, centers Josh Birrell and Joey Decker, tackles Rick Fry and Chris Gregory, guard Richard Lewis and tight ends James Melton and Alex deBrucky.

"Timmy's making a lot of yards," Meek said, "but he's got some help up front."

Mission Viejo running back Robbie Dubois was almost as impressive as Sonuyi, rushing for 180 yards and three touchdowns in 18 carries. But because the Diablos fell behind, 14-0, in the first quarter and were forced to play catch-up, they had to turn to their passing game.

There, Mission Viejo quarterback Billy Hart had his second consecutive subpar game, completing seven of 16 passes for 61 yards. Last week, in a victory over Huntington Beach, the USC-bound Hart completed three of 18 passes.

The Diablos pulled to within 28-21 early in the fourth quarter when Dubois bulled for his third touchdown on a 13-yard run.

But Sonuyi scored from four yards out on Esperanza's next drive and Mission Viejo could gain only one first down on its final two possessions.

"It was a showcase of the best two backs in Orange County, and they came out on top," Mission Viejo Coach Bob Johnson said.

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