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    Passing attack lifts Anaheim football to win over Magnolia that boosts playoff chances
    • October 13, 2023

    ANAHEIM — The Anaheim football team stayed true to its new offensive philosophy by airing it out early and often in a 51-22 victory over Magnolia on Thursday night at Western High.

    Colonists quarterback MJ Fernandez threw five touchdown passes, three going to wide receiver Jason Garrett, in the Orange League contest.

    Anaheim (4-4, 2-1) is now on track for a postseason berth, and coach Lanny Booher hopes to continue the team’s momentum in an important league game next week against Savanna.

    “Obviously, to get that one (next week), it would get us into the playoffs and it would be big,” Booher said. “Our third win (in league) would probably get us in, so that’s the most important thing right now. We’ll worry about Western when they come.”

    Garrett caught three passes for 75 yards with each reception scoring a touchdown. Fernandez, who finished with 239 yards passing, also threw TD passes to Jeremiah Castro and Xavier Aviles.

    “It was great,” Booher said of the Fernandez-Garrett connection. “Jason got hurt early in the season, so he’s only been back for a couple of games, so its really good to see that timing come back. Hopefully we can make a playoff run and they can continue to click.”

    Anaheim running back Eduardo Guardado ran for 116 yards and two second-half touchdowns.

    The Colonists scored on the first play of the game, a 68-yard catch by Castro, and made it 14-0 on Fernandez’s next completion, a 58-yard pass to Garrett.

    Magnolia quarterback Andre Scott passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns and also recorded an interception on defense against Anaheim on Thursday, Oct. 12. (Photo by David Delgado)

    Magnolia sophomore quarterback Andre Scott threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns passes. His favorite target was Dontay Houston, who caught nine passes for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

    The Sentinels (1-7, 1-2) also got a big contribution from Samuel Alcazar, who had five receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown.

    Magnolia scored on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Scott to Alcazar and then recovered the ensuing onside kick.

    The Sentinels took the lead, 15-14, with an 11-yard TD catch by Houston and a 2-point conversion by Scott.

    Magnolia coach Poutoa Fuega recognizes that his team is very young and lacking experience, but he liked what he saw when the Sentinels took a brief advantage to end the first quarter after falling behind 14-0.

    “Normally, when we get down like that, the kids are already breaking down,” Fuega said, “but this time they actually prevailed and picked up the pieces.”

    “We knew they had some athletic guys and they were going to be tough to contain,” Booher said of the first-quarter play by Magnolia. “When you make mistakes, those guys will make you pay for it.”

    Aviles’ 39-yard TD catch in the second quarter on third-and-28 gave the Colonists a 21-15 lead they would not relinquish.

    The Sentinels fumbled on the next play from scrimmage and the loose ball was recovered by Joshua Meza.

    Fernandez found Jason Garrett for a 15-yard TD pass later in the second quarter, then Ricardo Vela added a 23-yard field goal before halftime.

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    ​ Orange County Register