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Ayala Rips Apart Chino Mystique

Bulldogs hand No. 2 Cowboys their first loss, 21-14, after falling behind by two touchdowns in the first quarter.

November 02, 2002|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

Talk about undressing an opponent.

Defensive back Robert Meza's tackle of Chino running back Kes Ekpre-Olomo early in the third quarter Friday night wasn't the only crucial play Chino Hills Ayala made during its 21-14 upset victory, but none was more symbolic.

Meza inadvertently ripped the dark blue pants off Ekpre-Olomo on a night when Ayala exposed a number of weaknesses in previously impenetrable Chino, No. 2 in The Times' rankings.

After spotting the Cowboys a 14-0 lead in the Sierra League game's first eight minutes, No. 21 Ayala moved the ball effortlessly against a defense that had limited opponents to 7.7 points a game.

The Bulldogs (7-1, 3-0) also shut down a vaunted rushing attack, hindered by the loss of Jacob Flowe, who sat out with an ankle injury. After rushing for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter, Ekpre-Olomo was held to 67 yards.

"We've got a bunch of kids that just don't quit," Ayala Coach Lou Randall said. "When [Chino] went ahead, 14-0, no heads were down."

Big plays on defense and special teams made the difference in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Ryan Siess recovered an Ekpre-Olomo fumble at the Chino 22-yard line with 11 minutes left. Two plays later, Meza broke two tackles and scored on a 16-yard run to put Ayala ahead, 19-14. Corey Tello ran in the conversion to make it 21-14.

Chino (7-1, 2-1) drove to the Ayala 33 on its next possession before Meza knocked away Kevin Glaab's pass on fourth down. The Cowboys were set to get the ball back for another drive with less than four minutes left, but a punt was fumbled and Bulldog defensive back Patrick Stitt recovered it. Ayala then ran out the clock.

Meza, who gained 58 yards in eight carries, was one of three rushers who befuddled Chino when running out of the wing-T. Steven Toliver ran for 70 yards in 12 carries and Tello added 69 yards in 16 rushes.

Ekpre-Olomo's last significant carry came on the 17-yard run in which his pants were ripped off. Teammates huddled around him on the sidelines to protect his privacy until Oscar Roman took off his pants and gave them to Ekpre-Olomo as the Chino crowd roared its approval.

Chino took a 14-0 lead on touchdown runs of three and 12 yards by Ekpre-Olomo. But Ayala's Tello scored on a one-yard run and quarterback Bryan Waggener found tight end Justin Davenport racing into the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown to make it 14-13 at halftime.

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