Villa Park defenders Christian Castro (35) and Lenny Cowans celebrate a recovered fumble after sacking Esperanza quarterback Troy Deluca during the second half of Friday's game at Yorba Linda High.

Villa Park survives scare from Esperanza


YORBA LINDA - Villa Park completed a perfect Century League season but the Spartans had to survive an intense second-half comeback by Esperanza before rallying in the fourth quarter for three touchdowns to defeat the Aztecs, 44-34, Friday night at Yorba Linda High.

Villa Park (9-1, 6-0), ranked No. 3 in the CIF-SS Southwest Division and No. 8 in Orange County, won its seventh consecutive game and earned its third successive Century League title. The Spartans only setback was a nonleague loss to Edison in its third game.



The loss left the Aztecs (6-4, 3-3) in a three-way tie for third with El Dorado and Brea Olinda. A coin flip was held following the game and El Dorado was awarded third place and the league's final playoff spot. Esperanza finishes fourth and Brea Olinda fifth.

Esperanza scored three TDs in the third quarter to erase a 16-7 halftime deficit and take a 27-23 lead after three quarters.

However, Villa Park quarterback Dylan Osborne sparked a fourth-quarter Spartans comeback.

Early in the final quarter Osborne capped a nine-play, 73-yard scoring drive with a 20-yard TD pass to Dustin Harrison, putting Villa Park back on top, 30-27.

Moments later, the Spartans defense forced a turnover at the Esperanza 28. Two plays later, Osborne tossed a 22-yard TD pass to Ralph Valle and Villa Park upped its lead to 37-27.

On the Aztecs' next possession, QB Troy Deluca was injured and play was halted for 25 minutes. Deluca was taken from the field by ambulance to an area hospital.

Another Esperanza miscue less than a minute later led to a fumble return for a touchdown by Rudy Hurtado to seal the Spartans victory.

Troy Poole led Esperanza with 159 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Nate Rodriguez caught two touchdowns for the Aztecs.

Meki Tafuna led the Spartans with 84 yards rushing.

With a minute left in the game, the stadium lights automatically turned off because of an agreement with area residents to end sporting events by 10 p.m. The clock ran down in the darkness and the game ended.

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