El Modena tops El Dorado to finish in tie for first place


PLACENTIA – For a few minutes of the North Hills contest between El Modena and host El Dorado on Friday at Valencia High, the Southern Division playoff picture appeared a bit fuzzy.

The Golden Hawks, who’ve struggled all season, were in the game until a fourth-quarter, 1-yard touchdown by Dillon Keefe snapped a tie score and lifted the Vanguards to a 19-13 victory.

The Vanguards (6-4, 2-1) and Brea Olinda, which lost to Canyon on Friday, finished in a tie for first place with identical league records.

Since Brea Olinda defeated El Modena in their head-to-head matchup, the Wildcats enter in the playoffs as the No.1 team and the Vanguards go in as No. 2.

Because Canyon forfeited its victory last week over El Dorado (1-9, 1-2), the Golden Hawks, who were winless prior to the Friday’s announcement of the forfeit, could have made the postseason with a victory over El Modena.

And at one juncture, that seemed to be a possibility. El Modena led 13-0 at the half and appeared in control, before the Hawks snuck in two quick touchdowns to tie the score.

Facing a fourth-and-12 from their 45 early in the third quarter, the Vanguards attempted a fake punt but wound up losing 7 yards.

El Dorado took advantage of the good field position, scoring five plays later on a 13-yard run from Jordan Fulton.

The Vanguards fumbled on their own 22 on the next possession, setting up the Hawks again with great field position.

Hawks’ quarterback Austin Shear scored on a 3-yard run, but El Dorado missed the extra point try that would have put them ahead.

El Modena started the next possession on their 23 and put together 17-play drive, capped by Keefe’s touchdown, putting the Vanguards ahead for good.

“We just made some mistakes in critical times,” El Modena Coach Edward Drzanek. “We basically are very fortunate to come out of this ahead. Sometimes you’ve got to win those ugly ones and this was one of those ugly ones.”

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