The game: El Modena trailed at halftime, 20-7, of this North Hills League opener. El Mo coach Ed Drzanek said there was no panic. “Nobody was thinking this thing was over,” Drzanek said. Indeed. The Vanguards’ first possession of the second half was a 16-play, 73-yards drive that included three successful third-down conversions and a successful fourth-down conversion – it was fourth and 11 at the Canyon 36. Garrett Gramm made a great catch at the back of the end zone for the touchdown that trimmed the Canyon lead to 20-14. Clint Wodark soon made two huge plays for El Modena in the fourth quarter. A linebacker, Wodark tackled Canyon quarterback Jason Harman for a 7-yard loss on a fourth down play at the El Mo 25. Wodark next made a leaping catch for a 42-yard gain that put the Vanguards at the Canyon 1 from where Dillon Keefe scored on a dive to tie it, 20-20. Jordy Cruz’s extra-point kick gave El Modena its first lead, 21-20. El Modena running back Kenneth Lamb willed his way to two big gains for first downs in the final minute to seal the win. El Modena is 5-3 overall, 1-0 in league. Canyon is 4-4, 0-1.
Key to the game: El Modena’s resolve. The Vanguards three losses: by one point each to Villa Park and Yorba Linda, and by one touchdown to Foothill. “I’m very proud of our team and proud of our effort,” Wodark said.
Player of the game: Wodark, for that catch and that fourth-down sack.
Key stat: Canyon had 157 yards of offense while scoring 20 points in the first half; the Comanches had 87 yards of offense and were shut out in the second half.
They said it: “This is just a step on our journey. We’re going to keep it going.” – Wodark.
What it means: El Modena is in good shape for the championship of the four-team North Hills League. The Vanguards have a Halloween home game against Brea Olinda, which is 3-4 and plays its league opener Friday against El Dorado (0-7). El Modena concludes the regular season Nov. 6 against El Dorado. The last time El Modena won a league championship? In 2002, the Vanguards were Century League co-champions with Tustin.