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Capistrano Valley running back Kian Assarpour carries the ball during a Division 5 playoff game against Foothill on Friday. (PHOTO BY JEFF ANTENORE, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER)

Special performance sparks Capo Valley

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

MISSION VIEJO – Capistrano Valley has a prolific passing game and the stingiest scoring defense in the the county.

But it was special teams that got the Cougars back on track and sparked them to a 26-8 victory over Foothill in a CIF-SS Division 5 first-round playoff game Friday night at Capo Valley.

Clay Eggeman kicked four field goals and Justin Burk returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown as the Cougars (10-1) advanced to a second-round game next Friday at Ventura (8-3), which beat Moorpark, 35-19.

On a night when Capo Valley posted its third-lowest score of the season, the defense did its usual number on the opposition. The Cougars sacked Foothill quarterback Bobby Garcia seven times and intercepted two passes to give them 15 for the season. They held the Knights scoreless until the last minute of the third quarter and are still allowing just eight points a game.

But Foothill (5-6), the last-place team in the Crestview League, turned in its own defensive gem against the Sea View champion Cougars. The Knights allowed Capo Valley just one offensive touchdown. They sacked Kevin Brown twice in the first quarter and held the county’s seventh-leading passer to 180 yards for the night, well under his 247.4 average.

The game turned on a pooch punt by Capo Valley’s Sam Vivolo, who pinned Foothill at its 5 midway through the second quarter. The Knights went three-and-out and Capo Valley capitalized. Brown hit Gianni Munoz for a 22-yard gain to set up a 6-yard TD run by Kian Assarpour for a 7-0 lead with 5:27 left in the half.

Burk followed two minutes later with his punt return, finding a lane down the right side and zipping almost untouched for a 14-0 lead.

The Cougars squeezed in another score as the half ended. Stopping Foothill at midfield with 26 seconds left, they got 26 yards on a Brown pass to Nathan Manning to set up Eggeman's 32-yard field goal as the clock ran out.

Eggeman added field goals of 26 and 36 yards in the third quarter for a 23-0 lead before Foothill got on the board. Devon Anderson won a jump ball for a 30-yard catch to set up Garcia's 11-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds left in the third.

Garcia was 12-for-26 for 191 yards but was intercepted by Rafael Ramos and Ryan Schurmer. Anderson had four catches for 97 yards.


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