The combination of two touchdown runs by La Habra High running back Brent West and a pair of costly penalties against El Dorado in the second half was enough to give the Highlanders a 21-14 nonleague victory Friday night at Valencia High.
La Habra (1-1) never held the lead until West's two-yard scoring run with six minutes remaining. It appeared the Highlanders had been stopped a yard short of keeping the winning drive alive, but a pass interference penalty allowed the march to continue.
On La Habra's previous possession, a roughing the kicker foul sustained another drive to the end zone. Buoyed by five pass completions from quarterback Mike Keeling, West got La Habra even on a three-yard touchdown run with 43 seconds left in the third quarter.
El Dorado (0-2) got off to a great start, taking an early 7-0 lead when running back P.J. McNiff ran 41 yards for a touchdown. The advantage didn't last long, however, as Antonio Sanchez returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to the Golden Hawks' eight-yard line.
Three plays later, Jeremy Koontz caught a twice-tipped pass in the end zone to tie the score, 7-7.
The teams traded turnovers and punts the remainder of the first half. Three plays into the second half, Keeling, who completed 19 of 27 passes for 211 yards, fumbled while trying to hand off. The ball was recovered by El Dorado linebacker Brett Bostrum at the La Habra 43-yard line.
Four minutes later, Jeff Mathison bulled over from a yard out to put the Hawks back in front.
El Dorado needed to go 91 yards to have a shot at tying or winning the game, but linebacker Sergio Sanabria recorded the third sack of the game for La Habra to end any hopes of a comeback.