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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

No. 8 Fountain Valley Wins Ugly at Dana Hills, 24-18

September 09, 2000|BEN BOLCH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A couple of months from now, few will remember the particulars of eighth-ranked Fountain Valley's season-opening 24-18 victory over host Dana Hills. And that's a good thing.

Put any spin on it you want, this game was hideous.

Dana Hills committed six turnovers, Fountain Valley two. Punts were mishandled and field goals were blocked. The ugly plays outnumbered the good ones by what seemed like a three-to-one margin.

"It was a sloppy game," Baron Coach Eric Johnson said, "but we came out with a win and I'm happy about that."

Fountain Valley running backs Parris Moore, who had 50 yards rushing in 10 carries, and Mike Kotler, who had 52 yards in eight carries, gave their coach something to smile about. Kotler, whose one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter gave the Barons a 24-15 lead, gained all of his yards in the second half as Fountain Valley staved off a late Dana Hills rally.

The Dolphins had the ball at their own three with 2 minutes 7 seconds remaining, trailing by only six points. But then their new--look offense--a hybrid of the fly, wing-T and I formations--sputtered one final time.

After Matt Whittaker (six carries for 53 yards) bulled ahead for an 11-yard gain on first down, two short runs and an incomplete pass brought up a fourth-and-nine play from the 15. Quarterback Steve Vierra scrambled valiantly but was brought down by two Fountain Valley defenders well short of the first down.

The Barons ran out the clock from there.

"It was a little too close," Kotler said. "We think we were a better team than that. We have to step it up on defense and special teams."

Dana Hills, led by running back Kyle Kelly's 100 yards in nine carries, scored both of its touchdowns on big plays. Terrell Vinson returned a kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and Kelly shrugged off two would-be tacklers and rambled down the sideline for a 73-yard score in the third. Take away the long run and the Dolphins amassed 135 yards of offense to Fountain Valley's 198.

Dana Hills' offense actually outperformed its Baron counterparts in yardage in the first half, 84-72, but failed to put any points on the board because of five turnovers. Four fumbles and an interception led to all of Fountain Valley's points as the Barons took a 17-8 halftime lead.

Baron defensive back Casey Clark intercepted first pass of the game and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown to put Fountain Valley up, 6-0, after the extra-point kick failed.

"We started off the season with a defensive touchdown--that was great," Johnson said.

And about as good it got Friday.

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