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ROSE PALMISANO, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Katella's TJ Ashmeade rushes for a first down against Savanna during the first half Thursday.

Ashmeade carries Katella back into playoffs

FOR OCVARSITY.COM

ANAHEIM - It has been 10 years since Katella's last playoff appearance, and behind running back TJ Ashmeade and a stifling defense, the Knights look ready to make up for lost time.

Ashmeade rushed for 223 yards and four first-half touchdowns as Katella claimed the Orange League title with a 49-7 victory over Savanna on Thursday night at Glover Stadium.

"I'm so proud of all these guys," Knights coach Fred DiPalma said. "All the credit goes to them. The hard work from the offseason and two-a-days paid off, and it's because they all bought into our program."

The Knights (8-2, 5-0) claimed their first outright league championship since 1968 and have won six consecutive games heading into the Southern Division playoffs.

The Rebels (1-9, 0-5), who produced only two first downs, finished last in the Orange League.

Ashmeade also broke Katella's season rushing record. The junior finished with 1,530 yards, including 1,123 in league play — an average of more than 220 per game.

"It feels pretty great, but I give the credit to the offensive line for making it easier and easier every week," said Ashmeade, who started playing football last year. "With this being my second year, us making the playoffs and making history along the way, it's real special."


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