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PREP FOOTBALL : Freeway League : Sunny Hills Loses First to La Habra

Times Staff Writer

La Habra High School used a patient but persistent offense to upset previously-unbeaten Sunny Hills Friday night at La Habra, 17-7.

Behind the smart passing of John Robertson and the tough running of halfbacks Gary Mixon and Kevin Capps, La Habra’s ball control offense kept Sunny Hills’ defense on the field for much of the game.

La Habra took a 7-0 lead, was tied before halftime, and then in a second-half defensive struggle, the Highlanders got a field goal and a touchdown late in the game to cap the win.

“I like to think that our offense had a lot to do with this one,” La Habra Coach Bob Rau said. “That (Sunny Hills) is probably the best defensive team at this end of the county.”

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Both defenses played well throughout the hard-hitting Freeway League game, but Sunny Hills had difficulty stopping Robertson’s passing on key downs.

Robertson drove the Highlanders to a touchdown on the opening drive with the key play being his 45-yard pass to flanker Eric Zimmerman.

That completion, a flea-flicker in which Robertson handed the ball to a running back who then flipped it back to him, put the ball on Sunny Hills’ five-yard line.

Three plays later, Mixon scored on a one-yard run and the Highlanders were up, 7-0.

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Sunny Hills tied it with 1:33 to play in the first half on a one-yard touchdown run by Tim Imperiali. That scoring drive was aided by two 15-yard penalties--a pass interference call followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct call--on the same play.

La Habra went up, 10-7, in the third quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Jim Dean. On its ensuing drive, Sunny Hills missed a 34-yard field-goal attempt, and that would be as close as the Lancers would get to the end zone for the rest of the night.

La Habra capped the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run by Capps with 1:48 to play in the game. That run was set up by a 39-yard halfback pass from Capps to receiver Sal Maldonado, the second time that a trick play surprised the Sunny Hills defense for a long gain.

With the win, La Habra raised its league record to 3-1 and overall mark to 5-3. Sunny Hills is 3-1 and 8-1.

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