El Modena shows balance in victory over Fullerton


FULLERTON – Dillon Keefe does it all for El Modena, but he’s not all first-year coach Matt Mitchell has at his disposal.

Vanguards quarterback A.J. Esperanza keeps defenses honest with accuracy and mobility, and for standing 5-foot-6 on a good day, Andrew Carvajal is a hard runner between the tackles.

Five Vanguards scored Friday night as El Modena spoiled Fullerton’s homecoming with a thrilling 26-21 win at Fullerton High.

El Modena’s defense isn’t too shabby, either.

Keefe, of course, is Mitchell’s home run threat, but ask his coach, and this year’s team prides itself on hitting for average.

“This is how every game will be for us,” Mitchell said. “This was the experience we needed.”

Fullerton mounted a late comeback, but El Modena (3-0) never relinquished its lead.

Keefe, a 6-foot-1 two-way starter, finished with 88 rushing yards. Esperanza totaled nearly 200.

Vanguards kicker Jordy Cruz kicked what amounted to the winning 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, and defensive lineman Noah Gomez contributed a late safety.

“We played a full, 48-minute game, and a lot of guys contributed,” Mitchell said.

Fullerton’s Dylan Nicholson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but the Indians (2-1) struggled to establish any sort of offense until late in the third quarter.

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