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El Modena rallies for huge win over Canyon
ORANGE – It might be the biggest win for El Modena’s football team in several years.
The Vanguards rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to beat Canyon, 21-20, at El Modena High in the North Hills League opener for both.
Canyon was the preseason favorite to win the league championship. Now, El Modena looks like that league favorite.
Not so fast, cautioned Vanguards coach Ed Drzanek. He expects Brea Olinda to be another large challenge when El Modena plays host to the Wildcats on Oct. 31.
“Brea’s going to bring their best game,” Drzanek said. “We have to worry about ourselves. We still have a lot of things to work on.”
Canyon is 4-4 overall, 0-1 in league. El Modena is 5-3 and 1-0. Brea (3-4) plays El Dorado (0-7) in their North Hills League opener today.
El Modena and Canyon advanced to last year’s CIF-Southern Section Southern Division semifinals in which Canyon lost to Rancho Alamitos and El Modena lost to eventual champion Garden Grove.
Canyon had a 20-7 lead at halftime. El Modena scored on its first possession of the third quarter, on a 22-yard touchdown pass from AJ Esperanza to Garrett Gramm, with Gramm making a leaping grab at the back of the end zone to make it 20-14.
The Vanguards took their first lead of the game, 21-20, with 5:53 to go in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Dillon Keefe and Jordy Cruz’s kick for the extra point.
On that possession, El Modena got a first down on third-and-19 on a 22-yard catch-and-run by running back Kenneth Lamb. Lamb later got a first down on a fourth-and-1 run of 1 yard and flanker Clint Wodark made a leaping, twisting catch on a 42-yard completion to put the Vanguards at the Canyon 1.
Wodark, also a linebacker, earlier tackled Canyon quarterback Jason Harman for a 7-yard loss on fourth-and-3 at the El Modena 25.
Lamb would get crucial first downs on third-down runs of 7 and 8 yards in the final minute to keep the ball in El Modena’s hands.
Canyon took a 3-0 lead on Max Meyers’ first field goal midway through the first quarter. The Comanches made it 10-0 on Harman’s first touchdown pass, a play-action toss to Michael Freeman that covered 22 yards.
El Modena cut the lead to 10-7 early in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Dillon Keefe that completed a 12-play, 73-yards drive. Canyon made it 17-7 on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Harman to Trace Hobbs and Meyers’ second 28-yard fielf goal pushed the lead to 20-7.
Canyon plays host to El Dorado on Thursday at El Modena High.
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