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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

Esperanza Frustrates Jordan, 34-6

Football: Aztecs dominate previously unbeaten Panthers on both sides of ball.

September 30, 2000|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

True, it helps to get by with a little help from your friends, but the Esperanza football team found out Friday night that some assistance from your enemy doesn't hurt either.

Make no mistake, the visiting Aztecs dominated in their 34-6 rout of Long Beach Jordan, but numerous Panther mistakes meant they didn't have to work quite as hard.

Jordan (3-1) committed 13 penalties for 130 yards and turned the ball over four times on a night when they were frustrated by the bigger, more physical Aztecs (3-1). Of the 13 penalties, seven were for unsportsmanlike conduct or roughing the passer.

"I don't like to see the game played that way," Esperanza Coach Gary Meek said. "It's a scary thing. You don't want to see fights because the next thing you know, your kids are getting involved."

Esperanza defensive back Shane Pierce had two interceptions for an Aztec defense that limited Jordan to 119 yards and did not allow a score. The Panthers' touchdown came on a fourth-quarter fumble return.

Pierce, who has five interceptions, said the key to the game was not getting caught up in the trash-talk war Jordan attempted to wage.

"When that stuff happens, the key is discipline and composure," Pierce said. "It's hard not to talk, but you have to stay focused on the game."

Esperanza had three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, but each time Esperanza was flagged, it seemed Poly retaliated.

"They were frustrated and that's understandable," Meek said. "They came in here undefeated and weren't able to do some of the things they've been doing."

Esperanza, which led 21-0 at halftime, took advantage of two Jordan turnovers early in the second half.

Pierce picked off his first pass on the third play of the half and the Aztecs went 39 yards in six plays, aided by--what else?--an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by Jordan.

Three plays after the touchdown, Panther quarterback Cameron Smith mishandled a snap and Rick Fry recovered for Esperanza. Shaun Wildenstein scored on a six-yard run two plays later for a 34-0 Esperanza lead.

It was the fourth touchdown of the game for Wildenstein, who carried 12 times for 31 yards, mostly in short-yardage situations. Tailback Temitope Sonuyi, who entered the game averaging 230.6 yards, had 115 yards and a touchdown in 23 carries. He did not play the fourth quarter.

Esperanza's Greg Farrell completed 13 of 17 passes for 169 yards. Daniel Price made five receptions for 62 yards.

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