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Huntington Beach too strong for Yorba Linda
YORBA LINDA – Seven of Huntington Beach's 10 opponents this season made the postseason.
Two of the teams that failed to qualify, JSerra and Trabuco Hills, won seven and six games.
Huntington Beach beat three teams in the preseason that wound up in the thick of their respective league championship races.
The Oilers, as a result, finished the regular season with a 5-5 record, nabbing one of the Southwest Division's two at-large berths only after beating Newport Harbor in Week 10.
This year's team was more than a casualty of its brutal schedule, however.
Huntington Beach advanced to the second round of the CIF-SS Southwest Division playoffs with a 31-14 victory over Yorba Linda on Friday at Yorba Linda High.
“We knew that they knew how to win,” Oilers coach Eric Lo said of Yorba Linda, which was previously unbeaten.
“Our kids never underestimated them. They were league champions, they were the No. 2 seed and they were 10-0 for a reason.”
Huntington Beach's defense recovered three fumbles in the first quarter.
Maurice Barber hauled in touchdown passes of 22 and 16 yards, and Maliek Miller kicked a 36-yard field goal to put the visitors up three scores.
“Huge,” Lo said of his defense's early takeaways. “They gave us opportunities and we capitalized on them. Wish we could start every game that way.”
Oilers quarterback Kai Ross turned Yorba Linda's fourth turnover of the quarter into a 23-yard touchdown pass to Connor Kotchnik.
The Mustangs responded with their longest possession of the half, driving the length of the field before failing on a fourth-down attempt near the end zone.
Jimmy Gillis and Ian Eldridge (76 rushing yards) scored on touchdown runs in the third quarter.
Barber finished with three touchdown receptions and 102 receiving yards for Huntington Beach (6-5).
Yorba Linda (10-1) won the Empire League title outright for the first time in school history and was rewarded with the division's No. 2 seed.
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