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Clean league opener for Cypress
ANAHEIM - A football team keeps the coach happy by winning. Play turnover-free football, and that coach is very happy.
Cypress made Coach Bob Burt smile Thursday with no turnovers and a 23-10 victory over Western in the Empire League opener for both teams at Western High.
Cypress running back Jake Brito rushed for 133 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. Brito, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior who has a scholarship offer from Nevada, is averaging 147 yards a game and 6 yards a carry.
And the Centurions (3-1, 1-0) did not commit a turnover.
"Right now, knock on wood," Burt said, "I think we've made only two turnovers in four games and we've picked up 11 or 12. That kind of turnover ratio is huge."
Cypress senior quarterback Jesse Dages completed 10 of 20 passes for 129 yards. One of his completions was a shovel pass to Brito that went for a 46-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left in the first half. Burt said the Cypress passing game must improve if the Centurions are going to compete with Tustin, Yorba Linda and the rest of the Empire League.
"It's going to get tougher," said Burt, who has coached for decades at the college and high school levels. "We got to get some better reads from our quarterback. We missed some open receivers in the second half."
Cypress' defense did its part, holding Western to a second-quarter field goal and a third-quarter touchdown.
Western junior running back Lafaele Masaniai rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. His touchdown run of 20 yards in the third quarter trimmed the Cypress lead to 16-10. Cypress' Efren Obfenda scored on a 14-yard run early in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.
Defense and punting dominated the first quarter until Cypress scored on a 37-yard field goal by Dages, who throws left-handed but is a right-footed kicker, with 53 seconds left in the quarter to give Cypress a 3-0 lead.
Western (3-2, 0-1) tied it with 2:54 left in the second quarter on a 30-yard field goal by Dylan Alamia.
Cypress scored a touchdown in the final minute of the half. On second down and 10 at the Western 46, Dages tossed a shovel pass to Brito, who was running from the left end of the line toward the right. After catching the short shovel, Brito went around the right side, sprinted up the right sideline, dodged a tackler at the 20 and took a diagonal path to the end zone for the score and a 10-3 lead.
Brito scored on a 4-yard run in the third quarter to make it 16-3.