By Adam Stites/Garden Grove Journal
On the back of running back Brett Hurley, the Rancho Alamitos football team has rolled to a Garden Grove League title and are prepared to keep rolling as they head into the CIF playoffs. Hurley took 52 carries for the Vaqueros as he accumulated 225 yards rushing and three touchdowns in a 29-14 victory over Los Amigos on Thursday, Nov. 10 at Garden Grove High School in a battle of undefeateds.
“If you’re going to win or lose, you’re going to win or lose with [Hurley] running the ball,” said Rancho head coach Mike Enright. Run the ball with Hurley is exactly what the Vaqueros did, as his 52 carries tied the county record for most carries in a game.
Coincidently, Hurley is now in a three-way tie for the county record for most carries in a single game with two other Rancho Alamitos performances. Dana Riddle had 52 carries in two games in the 1989 season for the Vaqueros. Hurley is also in a six-way tie for the ninth most carries in a game in CIF history.
“He carries the team, he carries the load,” said Rancho quarterback Lincoln Faletoi.
Despite the successes of Hurley, it was the Los Amigos Lobos that found momentum early and jumped out to an early lead. With just three plays, the Lobos drove 69 yards for a touchdown on their opening drive, capped by a 15-yard touchdown run by Leonard Zambrano.
Two drives later, the Lobos stopped the Vaqueros on a fourth down deep in Los Amigos territory. They followed the turnover on downs with a nine play, 84-yard drive and a 4-yard Danny Hernandez rushing touchdown to jump out to a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Ultimately, it was turnovers and mistakes that cost the Lobos in the end and allowed Rancho to come back and take over the game in the second half. A blocked field goal early in the second quarter set the tone for what was to come.
Los Amigos turned the ball over on each of their four possessions in the second half. The Vaqueros took advantage of the opportunities as each of Hurley’s three touchdown rushes came after the Rancho offense received the ball off of a turnover.
With their win in the de facto Garden Grove League championship game, Rancho Alamitos earned the top seed of the teams from Garden Grove in the CIF Southern Division playoff bracket. They will see their first action on Friday, Nov. 18 against Woodbridge at Bolsa Grande High School.
Woodbridge should expect to see a lot of Hurley on Friday. “We’ve leaned on [Hurley] all year, why wouldn’t I lean on him some more?” said Enright.
Los Amigos will face Costa Mesa on Friday at Garden Grove High School and the final team from Garden Grove in the playoffs will be the Garden Grove Argonauts who will play Segerstrom on Friday at Segerstrom High School.