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Byrd Sends Lincoln Reeling, 33-0

Times Staff Writer

Taft Coach Tom Stevenson said that tailback Kelvin Byrd appeared sluggish and weakened in Friday’s nonleague game at Lincoln. Byrd admitted that he was hurting at times, but it was the host Tigers of Lincoln who suffered the most pain during Taft’s 33-0 victory.

Though he was reeling from a weeklong bout with stomach flu, Byrd rushed for 193 yards in 22 carries and scored 3 touchdowns.

It was the opener for Taft and the Toreadors played like it at times, incurring penalties that nullified three touchdowns.

“It was a very sloppy game from a Taft point of view,” Stevenson said. “We made a lot of mistakes that aren’t typical of us. . . . It was an ugly win, but we’ll take it.”

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There was nothing ugly about the Taft defense, which held Lincoln to minus-3 yards rushing and 67 yards passing and set up two Toreador touchdowns, including one less than two minutes into the game.

On the first play from scrimmage, Uda Walker picked off Albert Solorzano’s pass at midfield and returned it to the Lincoln 16.

After Byrd ran 15 yards to the Tiger one, quarterback Rich Cosentino was stuffed at the goal line on a sneak, but Byrd burst through the middle for the score on the next play.

“The line did a terrific job today,” said Byrd, who rushed for a school-record 1,168 yards as a junior. “It was easy for me. If our line stays healthy, we’ll be hard to beat this year.”

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Byrd scored Taft’s next two touchdowns on runs of 16 and 21 yards in the second quarter after two Toreador scores were nullified by penalties.

On Taft’s second offensive series, Byrd turned a short Cosentino pass in the flat into a 65-yard touchdown, but the Toreadors were called for holding.

Then, after Taft recovered a fumble on its own 46, Cosentino hooked up with wide receiver Walker for a 54-yard play that was called back because of illegal motion.

“The penalties were frustrating at first,” said Cosentino, who completed 6 of 17 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. “But we knew that we could come back and score some more.”

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If not for the penalties, Taft would have scored on its first four possessions and five of six. As it was, the Toreadors took a 26-0 lead shortly before halftime when wide receiver Doug Kougher outleaped Lincoln defensive back Gilbert Betancourt in the end zone.

Betancourt read the play well and appeared to have an interception, but the 6-foot Kougher simply soared above the 5-9 Betancourt to catch the ball.

Taft’s final touchdown made up partially for the ones nullified by penalties. Reserve tailback Stevie Lockridge (70 yards in 12 carries) fumbled at the Lincoln 10-yard line but the ball was recovered by Toreador center Corey Alter in the end zone.


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