Katella finishes unbeaten again


ANAHEIM – Katella finished the regular season unbeaten for a second consecutive season, captured its third straight outright Orange League title and won its 17th consecutive league contest overall with a 42-6 victory Thursday night against Magnolia at Western High.

The Knights (10-0, 5-0), ranked No. 1 in CIF-SS Division 11, hope to better last season’s postseason run, when they lost 61-21 in the second round to Canyon, the eventual Southern Division champion.

Katella set the early tone against Magnolia (2-8, 2-3), building a 42-0 halftime lead behind five rushing touchdowns from Francisco Pineda, last season’s Orange League most valuable player, and two interceptions by James Faitasia, the league’s reigning offensive player of the year.

Faitasia also did all of his offensive damage in the first half, catching three passes for 53 yards in that span.

Magnolia had some early success, recovering a pooch kick on the opening kickoff, forcing a three-and-out on Katella’s first possession and then getting a first down on fake punt after the Knights were called for pass interference.

An early Magnolia drive was halted when Carlos Guerra sacked Magnolia quarterback Joey Lucero on fourth-and-1 from the Katella 10-yard line.

Katella marched downfield and took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Rafael Martinez.

Faitasia hauled in his first interception on the first play of the ensuing drive by the Sentinels, and the Knights cashed in two plays later when Pineda scored on a 12-yard run.

Faitasia had a punt return for a touchdown called back later in the first quarter, but that didn’t slow Katella as Pineda quickly came back with a 60-yard touchdown run for a 21-0 lead with 43 seconds left in the first quarter.

Pineda, who finished with 117 rushing yards on 10 carries, added a 15-yard touchdown scamper and a pair of 6-yard touchdown runs in the second quarter to balloon the lead to 42-0.

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