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Huge second half rescues Villa Park
ORANGE – Villa Park's football team avoided a potential distraction early in the week but the Spartans had to face the one it encountered Friday in the CIF Southwest Division playoffs.
They stuck together like brothers, and conquered another challenge.
Villa Park overcame the loss of standout cornerback Derrick Kendrick to a back injury to rally past Buena Park, 66-40, in a wild first-round game at El Modena.
Kendrick's twin brother, Charles, helped spark a rally that produced 56 second-half points to push the Spartans (9-2) into a quarterfinal showdown against Edison at El Modena.
Last season, Edison beat Villa Park, 28-10, in the CIF Southwest Division finals at Angel Stadium.
Charles Kendrick teamed with fellow running backs Ian Pogue and Ramon Chaves for a punishing ground attack that out-pointed a Buena Park passing attack led by quarterback Ahmad Redeemer.
Pogue rushed for five second-half touchdown and Chaves added one but it was Charles Kendrick's two touchdowns -- one each half -- that seemed to fire up the Spartans.
Charles Kendrick scored on a 38-yard run in the first quarter about three minutes after his brother, Derrick, was taken off the field by an ambulance. Charles Kendrick added a 23-yard touchdown run in the second half.
“As soon as I saw the ambulance come, it started the fire,” Charles said. “I got his back on and off the field.”
Charles Kendrick pointed toward the sky after his score and was soon swarmed by teammates.
"I was pointing for (Derrick)," he said. "He's my twin."
Derrick Kendrick later returned to watch the end of the game. He said his knee buckled making a tackle on Buena Park's second play of the game and he hyper-extended his lower back. “I'll be playing next week,” he said. “I don't want to miss the rematch.”
Redeemer attacked a Villa Park secondary without Derrick Kendrick and finished with 342 yards. Wide receiver Nik Needham had six catches for 150 yards, including a 60-yard TD, and Jaylinn Hawkins finished with 12 receptions for 133 yards, including a 27-yard TD, for the Coyotes (8-3).
But Villa Park's defense forced three second-half fumbles and received a 50-yard interception return for a score by Kory Garcia. The turnovers led to 28 points.
Defensive end Louis Vecchio anchored the defense, forcing a fumble on the first possession of the second half that Xavier Hernandez recovered at the Buena Park 14. Chaves scored on a run on the next play and the Spartans were set to roll.
Villa Park turned two more fumbles into touchdowns later in the third to take control. John Stamos forced a fumble that Alec Tumser recovered at the Buena Park 23, leading to Charles Kendrick's 23-yard TD run with 9:03 left in the third.
Vecchio helped forced another fumble on the next Buena Park possession. Alec Tumser recovered at the Buena Park 19 and Pogue scored on a 5-yard run to give the Spartans a 38-20 lead with 7:14 left in the third.
The Spartans also got three sacks from Devan Illingworth and held standout running back Deven Boston to 57 yards.
Earlier in the week, Villa Park wrestling coach Emmanuel Hugo Hernandez was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a student during practice. Spartans coach Dusan Ancich said the coach's brother plays on the football team.
“The incident is weird but it didn't really affect us,” Ancich said. “You don’t know how it’s going to circulate but we have a great administration team.”
Buena Park scored on its first two possessions to take a 13-10 lead at halftime. The Coyotes outgained the Spartans, 520-347. The Spartans, however, didn't commit a turnover.
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