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    Football roundup: Troy upsets La Habra; Sonora, Edison, San Clemente, Dana Hills also win in Week 7
    • October 7, 2023

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    Running back Ethan Mundt scored on a 3-yard run with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter and Troy’s defense made a goal-line stand in the closing seconds for a 27-21 victory against host La Habra in the Freeway League on Friday.

    La Habra (3-4, 1-1), ranked 23rd in Orange County and riding a 33-game league winning streak, faced a fourth-and-goal from the Troy 9-yard line coming out of its final timeout with 50 seconds left. Quarterback Kenneth Saucedo scrambled on the play and surged toward the end zone, drawing what appeared to be at least one signal of a touchdown by a side judge.

    A few defenders from Troy (4-3, 2-0), however, celebrated near the end of the play as Saucedo met resistance around the 2 before several players piled up. A video of the play shows Warriors safety Josh King coming away with a fumble recovery.

    It ends like this- looks like we crossed the goal line with the was called a fumble, recovered by Troy…congrats to Troy, 27-21. Proud of our team & proud to be a Highlander! @fjuhsd @SGVNSports @OCSportsZone @ocvarsity @ocvarsityguy @James_Escarcega @SteveFryer @LHHSAthletics1

    — Steve Garcia (@PrincipalSteveG) October 7, 2023

    The ball was spotted at the 2 with 38 seconds remaining and the Troy offense knelt down on the final play to secure its first victory against La Habra since 2006 and its second against the Highlanders in 31 years.

    “Crazy,” Troy coach Michael Echaves said Saturday of the victory. “This game was special for our defense as we’ve been battered and bruised a little this year. However, we competed at an outstanding level last night and I’m so proud of them fighting through tremendous adversity.”

    “That win, for a lot involved on my staff, is special,” the coach added. “Seven out of 10 of (our) coaches grew up playing in the Freeway League so to be in a position to win the last one (before releaguing) is exciting.”

    La Habra’s last dropped a Freeway League game in 2016 at Buena Park, which posted a 27-13 victory en route to taking the league title under former coach Anthony White.

    Earlier in La Habra’s final drive, the Highlanders had a touchdown negated by a holding penalty with 3:35 left.

    Mundt scored on a second-and-goal play to snap a 21-21 tie. The Warriors’ PAT sailed wide.

    Mundt, a sophomore, finished with 69 yards on 20 carries.

    Troy junior QB Rudy Alcala completed 14 of 23 passes for 195 yards and tossed touchdowns to junior Vander Ploog and senior Declan Healey. Ploog finished with eight catches for 98 yards.

    Troy plays host to Buena Park (4-3, 0-2) at Fullerton High on Friday, Oct. 13. La Habra plays Sunny Hills (4-3, 1-1) at Buena Park High on the same night.

    In other games Friday:

    Sonora 42, Buena Park 13: The visiting Raiders (6-1, 2-0) raced to a 35-0 lead at halftime and moved into a first-place tie with Troy in the Freeway League. Olin Morales-Hyder caught two touchdowns and rushed for another. Running back Anthony Abad added three touchdowns while QB Landon Martin tossed three scores.

    Sonora plays host to Fullerton (2-5, 0-2) next week at La Habra High.

    Sunny Hills 28, Fullerton 27: The visiting Lancers (4-3, 1-1) prevented a go-ahead, 2-point conversion with 2:05 left in the fourth quarter to edge the Indians.

    Edison 47, Huntington Beach 20: Junior running back Julius Gillick rushed for a school-record 312 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Chargers (4-3, 2-0) to a third consecutive victory. Edison, tied with Los Alamitos for first place in the Sunset League, plays Newport Harbor (3-4, 1-1) at Huntington Beach at Oct. 12.

    La Quinta 31, Loara 23: Alex Tran rushed for touchdowns and Michael Palacios collected eight tackles and an interception as the Aztecs beat the Saxons for the first time in the Garden Grove League. La Quinta (5-2, 2-0) is tied with Bolsa Grande (5-2, 2-0) atop the league.

    La Quinta plays Santiago (3-4, 0-2) next week.

    Bolsa Grande 34, Santiago 28: Ethan Nguyen passed for 140 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 100 yards and another score to lead the Matadors (5-2, 2-0).

    — Dan Albano

    San Clemente 42, Ayala 13: Aidan Rubin ran for over 250 yards with three touchdowns for San Clemente in a road win against Ayala of Chino Hills.

    The senior running back has eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the season with 16 rushing touchdowns. Dylan Mills threw two touchdown passes for San Clemente (6-1), both to tight end Broderick Redden.

    Lee Fuimaono added a rushing touchdown for the Tritons while Max Gonzales and Max Bollard each had interceptions.

    San Clemente begins South Coast League play on the road against Mission Viejo next Friday, Oct. 13.

    Dana Hills 14, Irvine 7: Dana Hills scored 14 points in the first quarter which ended up being just enough to beat Irvine.

    The Dolphins scored on a blocked punt by Nate DePierro, who also recovered the ball and returned it for a touchdown. Later in the quarter, San Clemente transfer Owen Walz ran for a 1-yard touchdown in his debut at quarterback for Dana Hills (5-2).

    Noah Kucera intercepted a pass in the final minute to clinch the wins for the Dolphins, who begin Pacific Coast League play against undefeated Laguna Hills next Friday.

    Irvine (4-3) will begin Pacific Hills League play on the road against Woodbridge.

    Northwood 30, University 7: Northwood scored 23 unanswered points to open the game against University and snap its two-game losing streak.

    Eddie Petrushin and  Lucas Trausch each had early rushing touchdowns to give Northwood (3-4) a 13-0 lead. After a field goal by Cole Hidalgo, Edward Ma threw a touchdown pass to Hidalgo to increase the lead to 23-0.

    Koa Saito threw a long touchdown pass to Brooks Beckmann for the lone touchdown for University (3-4).

    Northwood’s defense had three interceptions, one by Tristan Tran, and Joseph Harper had multiple sacks.

    Crean Lutheran 42, Pacifica 7: Jeremiah Finaly threw for 274 yards with four touchdown passes for Crean Lutheran in a rout of Pacifica in an Empire League game.

    Ben Byszewski had two touchdown receptions while Daylin Caamano and Carter Jones each added one.

    Jones led the Crean Lutheran (6-1, 2-0) defense with 10 tackles and Taurian Nash had a forced fumble that was recovered by Javari Nash.

    Cypress 21, Kennedy 7: Jesse Mauldin ran for 150 yards with two touchdowns for Cypress in its Empire League win over Kennedy.

    Rocco Burdett also had a rushing touchdown for Cypress (4-3, 2-0).

    Tustin 42, Valencia 0: Eimesse Essis and Khristian Dunbar-Hawkins each had two touchdowns for Tustin in a dominant win over Valencia in an Empire League game.

    Tustin (7-0, 2-0) is one of six remaining undefeated teams in Orange County. Essis had two rushing touchdowns and Dunbar-Hawkins had a punt return touchdown and a rushing score.

    Jack Stupin threw touchdown passes to Larry Allen and Mack Alleyne.

    Brea Olinda 21, Canyon 7: Nathan Aceves ran for two touchdowns for Brea Olinda in a nonleague win over Canyon.

    The senior had a 75-yard rushing touchdown and a 5-yard score for Brea Olinda (5-2). Jake Owens also had a rushing touchdown for the Wildcats.

    Beckman 21, Portola 14: Beckman scored 14 unanswered points in the second half to beat Portola in a nonleague game at Portola High.

    CJ Bertoni had a rushing touchdown and caught a touchdown pass from Austin Shepard for Beckman (6-1). Shepard also threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Makhi Czaykowski.

    Rocky Palacio had two touchdown passes for Portola (4-3). Kamran Jahromi caught seven passes for 197 yards with two touchdowns for the Bulldogs.

    — Michael Huntley

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    ​ Orange County Register