Katella High School amassed 332 yards rushing and cruised to its second consecutive victory in Empire League play, downing Cypress, 23-6, Thursday night in front of 1,400 fans in Anaheim’s Handel Stadium.
Fullback Joe Pastorello gained 176 yards in 20 carries and scored 2 touchdowns. Pastorello averaged nearly 9 yards per carry, improving his rushing total to 821 yards this season.
Katella (5-1-1 overall, 2-0 in league play) assured itself a second consecutive winning record after 17 losing seasons in a row before Coach Larry Anderson’s arrival in 1986. Anderson guided Katella to its first postseason playoff appearance in 20 years last season, and the Knights need only 1 victory in their final 3 games for another playoff berth.
Cypress (1-5-1, 0-1-1) played its sixth game this season without scoring a touchdown, but the Centurions displayed some offensive punch for a change under quarterback Chris Dangaran. Dangaran passed for 165 yards and added 28 yards rushing.
Cypress had an opportunity to take the lead in the third quarter when it drove to Katella’s 1-yard line, but tailback Derek Harris fumbled into the end zone on a second-down play to end the drive.
Katella was clinging to a 10-6 lead when Harris fumbled. The play appeared to wake up a lethargic offense, and the Knights drove 80 yards for a touchdown and a 17-6 lead.
Pastorello, a hard-driving, 190-pound senior, clinched the victory for Katella by running 58 yards for a touchdown with 6:32 remaining in the game. He brushed off 2 tacklers near the line of scrimmage and then outran 2 defensive backs to the end zone.
Pastorello had scored on a 14-yard run in the first quarter after teammate Derek Dale recovered a Cypress fumble at the Centurion 26.
Cypress, which has been shut out 5 times this year, scored twice in the first half on field goals by Joey Chavez. Chavez kicked a 28-yarder to trim Katella’s lead to 7-3 in the first quarter and added a 21-yarder just before halftime to make the score, 10-6.
Defensive end Richard Parsons gave Cypress’ homecoming crowd a thrill early in the fourth quarter when he intercepted Katella quarterback Dennis Briggs’ pass at the Cypress 23 and returned it 57 yards to the Katella 20.
Parsons’ long interception return went for naught when Chavez hooked a 42-yard field goal attempt to the left, ending Cypress’ final threat.