By Adam Stites/Garden Grove Journal
The Garden Grove League champions had been faced with come-from-behind situations several times in the 2011 season. Yet the Rancho Alamitos Vaqueros always managed to accomplish what they had to do to win games.
So with an eight-point deficit and possession of the ball early in the fourth quarter in their first postseason game, Brett Hurley and the Vaqueros were primed to come back yet again.
Hurley, who carried the ball 52 times against Los Amigos in an effort that clinched the league championship for Rancho, took a handoff from quarterback Lincoln Faletoi with 9:42 left in the game. He ran from the RAHS 31 yard line up the middle for a 12 yard gain before he was tackled by a Woodbridge defender.
“I knew something was wrong as soon as I hit the ground,” said Hurley. “I had never felt that before and I basically knew I was done for that game at least.”
The seemingly routine tackle separated the 5’7, 160-pound running backs shoulder and ended the season of the best player on the Vaqueros football team. After over 1,500 yards of total offense and 23 touchdowns for the season, Hurley could only watch from the sidelines as the Vaqueros were outscored 14-0 in the final quarter to finish the year.
During the season, Hurley was a jack of all trades and an ironman of sorts that contributed to his team as a running back, safety, long snapper, kick returner and punt returner. He even booted seven extra points for the team as a backup kicker.
His 52 carries in the final game of the regular season tied the Orange County record for most carries in a game. A record that coincidently was held by Rancho’s own Dana Riddle, set in 1989.
“I honestly didn’t even know it was 52 until after the game and someone told me,” said Hurley, “The biggest thing about that is that we won league.”
Ultimately though, it was the physical toll he took from his time on the field proved to be the downfall of Rancho Alamitos as the 43-21 loss to Woodbridge eliminated them from contention in the CIF playoffs.
Hurley hopes to continue his football career at the collegiate level now that his time as a player at Rancho is through.
“I’m for sure gonna play at least two more years at a JC or a Divsion III or whatever. Whatever chance I’m given, I’m gonna play football for as long as I can.”