During halftime of his team’s Empire League game against Katella High School Friday night, Carl Sweet, El Dorado coach, yelled at his players. This is news because Carl Sweet’s demeanor tends to fluctuate from mild to milder.
But after watching his defense allow Katella to drive 80 yards in the last 1:43 of the first half, well, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.
“That’s the first time I’ve raised my voice all season,” he said. “I told them I didn’t want to see anything like that again.”
He didn’t. El Dorado effectively stuffed Katella in the second half en route to a 27-14 victory at Valencia High that clinched a playoff spot for the Golden Hawks.
El Dorado (5-4, 3-1) and Katella (5-3-1, 2-2) came into the game with the only winning league records outside of first-place and undefeated Los Alamitos.
“This is a very gratifying win for us,” Sweet said. “I guess this guarantees a spot for us unless something incredibly quirky happens.”
Yes, like rewriting the league constitution. El Dorado is in, though it looked on its way out when Katella went on that 80-yard march at the end of the first half.
El Dorado scored on its first possession when running back Han Kim, on El Dorado’s second play from scrimmage, ran 60 yards for a touchdown. Kim, a third-string back, was only playing because regular starter, Lance Keeter, was held out of the game by Sweet for disciplinary reasons. Kim made the most of his first real playing time of the season, rushing for 147 yards on 18 carries.
El Dorado scored again in the first quarter when quarterback David Swearingen ran 24 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback sneak.
Katella came back in the second quarter with a 5-yard pass from quarterback Dennis Briggs to running back Joe Pastorello.
After El Dorado running back Crosby Spencer scored from 4 yards out in the second quarter, Katella came back with its last-minute drive. Pastorello scored on a 4-yard run of his own with no time remaining. At halftime, El Dorado led 21-14, but the momentum seemed definitely with Katella.
But turnovers and a key fourth-down play in the third quarter turned the game in El Dorado’s favor.
Katella started off well enough, recovering a fumble on the El Dorado 47. Katella drove to the 36 but lost a fumble. On its next possession, with a fourth-an-inches at the El Dorado 43, Pastorello was stopped for no gain.
It was one of the few times Pastorello had been stopped. He rushed for 150 yards on 27 carries to set a school single-season record with 1,022 yards, breaking Adam Chaves’ mark of 1,000 set in 1980.
The third quarter was scoreless, El Dorado got two fourth-quarter field goals from Phil Nevin of 32 and 20 yards.