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Sylmar Pays for Miscues With Loss

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

After bumbling their way through most of Friday’s non-league football game at Lincoln High, the Sylmar Spartans still had a chance to win with slightly more than three minutes remaining.

Consecutive runs of 5, 19 and 6 yards by Jerome Casey followed a perfectly executed onside kick, and Sylmar found itself with a second and 5 at the Lincoln 10-yard line, trailing 9-6.

But then, as they had done all day, the Spartans self-destructed.

First, guard Martin Llerenas jumped offside. On second and 10 from the Lincoln 15, center Sergio Soto was called for another offside penalty and when quarterback Chris Pikes spiked the ball in frustration, the Spartans were penalized another 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

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Suddenly, it was second and 30 from the Lincoln 35.

Pikes completed an 8-yard pass to Jeff Howard, but his pass on third and 22 fell incomplete and David Duran’s recovery of Casey’s desperation lateral on fourth down preserved the victory for Lincoln.

“Can a team play any worse than we did?” Sylmar Coach Jeff Engilman asked. His team had been penalized 11 times for 95 yards.

“We were pathetic,” he added. “We didn’t block. We didn’t tackle.”

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Trailing, 9-0, Sylmar (1-1) narrowed the deficit to three midway through the fourth quarter when Casey ran 19 yards for a touchdown to cap a 9-play, 92-yard drive.

Then came the onside kick and the runs by Casey, who gained 100 yards in 20 carries.

Lincoln (2-1) took a 6-0 lead on the first offensive series of the game, marching 80 yards in 13 plays, capped by Abel Garay’s 23-yard touchdown on a reverse.

Duran, who had two interceptions, picked off Pikes’ first pass on Sylmar’s opening possession and Francisco Ortega followed with a 50-yard field goal that gave Lincoln a 9-0 lead.

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