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Buena Park clinches share of Freeway title
BUENA PARK – Following Buena Park’s victory over La Habra last week, Coyotes coach Anthony White challenged his team this week with the slogan, “So What, Now What.”
Buena Park started slow but responded to White’s challenge as it defeated Sunny Hills, 40-14, in a Freeway League game Friday night at Buena Hills High.
Coyotes quarterback James Rafkin threw three second-half touchdown passes and Jamiel Henning rushed for 149 yards and a TD as Buena Park won its fourth in a row to earn at least a share of the league title.
With a week to go in the regular season, the Coyotes (8-1, 4-0) will capture the league title outright for the first time in over 20 years with a win over Troy next week.
“Today all three levels – varsity, JV and freshman – earned at least a share of the league title for the first time in our history,” White said.
Rafkin tossed a 16-yard TD pass to Taariq Johnson to cap Buena Park’s opening drive of the second half and increase its lead to 24-14.
“We have to finish what we started next week and then on to CIF,” said Rafkin, who completed 14 of 16 passes for 200 yards and three TDs.
In the fourth quarter, Rafkin added TD passes of 9 and 39 yards to AJ Allen and Victor Bates.
Henning broke off an 80-yard TD run in the second quarter that gave the Coyotes an 8-7 lead.
“The O-line was the key,” said Henning. “Without them, I couldn’t run anywhere; they were opening big holes.”
The Lancers (6-3, 2-2) converted a Buena Park turnover and marched 43 yards in seven plays to take a 7-0 lead in the opening quarter.
Brandon Castelo raced in from 21 yards on a fourth-down play.
After Henning’s touchdown run, Sunny Hills countered with a methodical 13-play, 70-yard drive that Alex Jung finished with a 2-yard TD run to give the Lancers a 14-8 lead with 1:05 left in the half.
However, Elijah Gates returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown and Henning ran in the 2-point conversion to lift Buena Park to a 16-14 halftime lead.
Jung and Castelo, the top two rushers in league, ran for a combined 226 yards and two touchdowns.