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MARK CHODZKO, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Buena Park quarterback Zach Taylor has nowhere to go against La Habra's defense on Friday night.

La Habra stays on a roll, downs Buena Park, 48-14

STAFF WRITER

LA HABRA – At this point, expecting anything different is the worst kind of tomfoolery.

Every year, it seems, a new challenger rises from the pack to make a run at La Habra atop the Freeway League, and every year, without fail, the king remains the king.

For the second time in as many weeks, the Highlanders bulldozed a Freeway League hopeful, beating Buena Park, 48-14, Friday at La Habra High.

“Buena Park, they’re an up-and-coming program,” La Habra linebacker Jacob Colacion said. “They have some good athletes. A win like this feels good.”

La Habra (6-1, 2-0) scored twice in the first quarter, on touchdown passes of 24 and 54 yards. Highlanders quarterback Eric Barriere said the game plan was to attack Buena Park’s man-to-man tendencies, to get the ball in the air as quickly as possible.

With no safety help, he said, all a receiver needed to do was make a play.

“With man coverage, it’s either big runs or big throws,” La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta said.

And the Highlanders had plenty of big runs.

La Habra running back Cortlin Taylor scored three times and rushed for 202 yards. Teammate Madison Wheeler added 71 and two scores. The Highlanders’ offensive line was never compromised, Taylor and Wheeler gaining 5, 6, 7 yards before contact.

La Habra at one point led, 28-0.

“Holes,” Taylor said of what he saw all night. “My offensive line making holes. They’re always doing that. Every day. We make plays and score.”

Defensively, La Habra sat in soft zones, often with several players in the secondary.

Buena Park quarterback Zach Taylor had time to throw, but had no one open. Remove the 85-yard screen pass on which Coyotes receiver Elijah Gates scored late in the first half, and Taylor was held to 63 yards.

And Buena Park (5-2, 1-1) couldn’t do much on the ground.

“We knew they threw a lot of screens,” Colacion said. “We knew they had a lot of fast players, so we focused on our coverages, and hustling to the ball, finishing tackles.”

Mazzotta said before the game he and his team watched last week’s game video once, then moved on to the task at hand. Barriere expects the same this week.

“We don’t go into the past,” he said. “We go forward, looking to our next opponent.”

Contact the writer: bwhitehead@ocregister.com


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