Silva saves Rancho Alamitos' victory


ANAHEIM – Jonathan Silva’s leaping interception in the end zone on the final play of the game preserved Rancho Alamitos’ 14-9 victory over Loara in a nonleague game Thursday night at Glover Stadium.

The Saxons (0-5) drove the ball 64 yards to the Vaqueros’ 15-yard line with 21 seconds to play. Backup quarterback Frankie Nocella, who replaced injured starter Boogie Augustine three minutes into the game, threw two incompletions followed by a 3-yard completion to Isaiah Lobatos to reach the 12. Six seconds remained.

Nocella scrambled to create time to throw and threw a pass that was catchable by one of his receivers. But the 5-foot-9, 165-pound Silva had the inside position and made the interception.

Rancho Alamitos (4-1) took a 14-2 lead early in the second half on an 84-yard touchdown pass from Blake Culbert to Jesse Candelario.

Nocella’s interception set up Loara’s touchdown. He returned it 33 yards to the Rancho Alamitos 22.

The Saxons used the bull-like runs of Noe Murguia to reach the 5. Nocella, a 6-1, 175-pound junior, ran 5 yards for the touchdown with 1:19 left in the third.

Murguia gained 16 yards on four carries on the six-play drive. The 5-10, 185-pound senior gained 152 yards on 24 carries.

Trailing, 14-9, Loara marched 42 yards to the Rancho Alamitos 7 early in the fourth quarter. But a holding penalty put the Saxons in a passing situation, and defensive end Dylan Gald sacked Nocella on back-to-back plays for minus-17 yards.

On third down, Nocella was intercepted by Cristian Villareal.

Rancho Alamitos took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on Culbert’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Frankie Gonzalez.

Loara’s Angel Echeverria blocked Emmanuel Cuevas’ punt in the end zone and it went out of bounds for a safety with 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

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