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Albano notes: Sunny Hills has weekend to remember
Sunny Hills stuffed plenty of history into one weekend.
The Lancers snapped a 29-game losing streak in the Freeway League with a 34-27 victory against Fullerton on Friday. It was their first league victory since 2009 and first triumph against the Indians since 2004.
Sunny Hills (5-5, 1-4) then applied for an at-large entry for the CIF Southwest Division playoffs.
On the Sunday, the Lancers’ bid was accepted, sending them to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Talk about a good weekend.
“It’s been a great weekend for the Lancers,” first-year coach Pete Karavedas said. “A lot of things happened with that one win. I’m just proud of our kids.”
Sunny Hills powered past Fullerton using its double-wing ground attack. David Cabral, a 5-foot-6, 170-pound bowling ball, rushed for 117 yards on 20 carries, and quarterback Malcolm Dixon rushed for three short touchdowns and threw a score to Brandon Castelo.
Cabral and Dixon also are key players on defense at middle linebacker and safety.
Karavedas said the Lancers’ offensive linemen and blocking tights end were the unsung heroes. They were linemen Marquis Knighten, Abe Ibarra, Baun Daungsri, John Gawlik and Nick Sheffer and tight ends Coban Chapman and Jack Tremper.
But the Lancers’ most important ingredient was resiliency. They lost their first two Freeway League games in heart-breaking fashion: 7-6 against Troy and 35-34 Sonora.
Lopsided defeats against Buena Park and La Habra followed.
Week 10 arrived and the Lancers were ready.
“We felt like the winner of that game was going to have a shot (at the at-large berth),” Karavedas said. “When you haven’t experienced a lot of that success, for a 16, 17-year-old kid, sometimes they can roll over and quit and our boys haven’t done that.
“They’ve kept fighting no matter what the circumstances. … We talk about how that’s going to be the same in your life. Things don’t always go your way.”
Sunny Hills plays in the first round Friday at second-seeded San Clemente (8-2), last season’s Southwest Division runner-up.
“We’re excited about the opportunity,” Karavedas said. “It’s been a while since Sunny Hills had an opportunity like this.”
Five schools from the Santa Ana Unified School District reached the Southern Division playoffs and the district is guaranteed to have at least two alive in the second round.
The guarantee is because two first-round games Friday feature all-Santa Ana matchups.
Santa Ana (8-2) will play at Santa Ana Valley (4-5-1) and Segerstrom (7-2-1) will play host to Saddleback (6-4). Godinez (6-4) plays at Westminster (8-2) in the other game.
“We love it,” Saddleback coach Rob Thompson said of the district representation.
Thompson said coaches Charlie TeGantvoort (Santa Ana), Mike Maceranka (Segerstrom), Michael Echaves (Godinez) and Larry Mohr (Valley) deserve credit because many players in the district start playing football in high school.
Saddleback is seeking its first playoff victory since 1988. Santa Ana’s playoff drought goes back to 1989.
Brethren Christian junior running back Jordan Leonard powered Brethren Christian into the East Valley playoffs by rushing for a county-leading 2,223 yards and 33 touchdowns on 162 carries. Last season, the Warriors produced prolific quarterback Conner Miller. …
It’s become well known that quarterbacks Devon Modster (Tesoro), Patrick O’Brien (San Juan Hills) and KJ Costello (Santa Margarita) were on the same youth football team in the eighth grade. But Aliso Niguel quarterback Nick Chapman, who passed for a county-leading 3,039 yards, also played on the team. …
Servite sophomore receiver Delon Hurt and juniors Keith Taylor (defensive back) and receiver Terrell Bynum were scheduled to make an unofficial trip to Washington over the weekend.
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