Villa Park's win led by its defense


ORANGE – When the offense isn’t running efficiently, sometimes it’s up to the defense to provide the momentum. Villa Park did that Friday night, using several big defensive plays in the second half to shut out Canyon and hold on to a 25-14 victory in the Crestview League opener at El Modena High.

Shane Darsow, Daniel Asiata and Noah Peterson led the defensive charge in the second half.

Peterson returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown on the first possession of the third quarter, Asiata made a diving tackle on fourth-and-1 from the Villa Park 14 to end another drive, and Darsow made a handful of tackles for losses.

John Stamos made sure the offense wasn’t entirely stale, rushing for 173 yards on 23 carries and scoring two touchdowns.

Peterson’s third interception of the season gave Villa Park a 22-14 lead and represented the only touchdown for both sides during the second half.

It was Canyon (3-5, 0-1) that scored first in the game, showing its determination by converting a fourth-and-3 from its own 47 on a fake punt, then taking a 7-0 lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Marquez to Josh Tarango, who ripped out of the grasp of a defender and ran the additional 15 yards into the end zone.

Villa Park (7-1, 1-0) got even on a 3-yard run by Stamos on the ensuing possession, but a bad snap over the head of quarterback Nick Sipe later in the first quarter was recovered by defensive lineman Cody Briggs in the end zone, giving Canyon a 14-7 lead.

The Spartans continued to churn up most of their yardage behind Stamos, who broke through for a 17-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, and Anthony Talavera caught the two-point try, giving Villa Park a 15-14 lead that held up through the first half.

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