The confrontation between two of the county’s unbeated teams quickly disintegrated into a one-sided affair Saturday night. Saddleback High School easily defeated La Habra, 34-0, before 700 spectators in Santa Ana Stadium.
Saddleback (3-0) seized control from the opening kickoff and maintained it thoughout the game. The Roadrunners’ first drive covered 73 yards on 9 plays. Senior Glenn Campbell carried the ball over from the 1, and Todd Maxwell connected on his first of four extra-point kicks.
After another Roadrunner touchdown at the end of the first quarter, La Habra (2-1) somewhat abandoned its run-oriented offense that centers on half back Chuck Weatherspoon (15 carries for 137 yards Saturday). Attempting to get a quick score, the Highlanders took to the air but found little success. Their two quarterbacks completed only 4 of 12 passes for 83 yards and 2 interceptions.-
It was this unexpected change of game plan that Saddleback Coach Jerry Witte later said had helped his defense to control the game. “Any time you get a running team down early, it is to the advantage of your defense because their number one thing is not throwing the ball.”
Saddleback’s Maxwell lead all ballcarriers with 12 carries for 148 yards, including three runs of over 30 yards, seven over 10 and 3 touchdowns. Nate Primous added 44 yards on six tries.
The Saddleback line opened holes all night and gave quarterback Myron Butler plenty of time to find his receivers. The senior signal caller had 393 yards in total offense, 228 rushing and 165 passing.
Butler threw for two touchdowns, one 92 yards. Faced with a third-and-22 from his 8, Butler hit Danny Ontiveros near the Roadrunner 20, and the wide receiver ran, untouched, 80 yards for the final score of the game.
Highlander Coach Bob Rau had but one comment after the game: “We just did not play very well, did we?”
Four of the Roadrunners’ scores came on long drives that did much to weaken any comeback chances the Highlanders may of had. The longest drive came at the end of the half when Saddleback went 81 yards on nine plays, taking up nearly five minutes. The drive ended when Butler found Joe Deal open in the end zone. Witte said his team’s control offense just wore down La Habra.
“We came out really sound and after we got ahead early, our kids got some confidence and it just sort of snowballed on La Habra. They were a good test for us, and neither team gave up.”
Besides being intercepted twice, the Highlanders also fumbled the ball once. Saddleback’s lone turnover was a fumble that La Habra could not advance beyond its 48, where the lose ball had been recovered.