Sophomore quarterback Adam Garcia threw for one touchdown and ran for another to lead El Modena High School to a 17-7 Century League victory over Villa Park Friday at El Modena.
The win placed El Modena (4-5, 3-1) into a second-place tie with Foothill with one game to play. The Vanguards play Foothill Friday at Tustin High School.
El Modena took a 10-7 lead with 6 minutes left in the game on a 27-yard field goal by Tim Hatcher. Hatcher’s kick capped a 13-play drive which began after the Vanguards stopped a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak by Chris Johnson at the El Modena 39.
The series, which also featured a 13-yard Garcia run, was further aided by a personal foul penalty against the Spartans which brought the ball to the Villa Park 10.
Three plays after Villa Park (1-8, 0-4) took the ensuing kickoff, Pat Finn intercepted a Johnson pass at the Vanguard 40. The interception was Finn’s second of the game.
On the fifth play after the interception with 2 minutes left in the contest, Garcia faked two handoffs and swept his way past a host of Spartan defenders to score on a 42-yard run.
“He’s a gem,” said Bill Backstrom, El Modena coach, of Garcia. “He’s quite an athlete. He came up with the big plays when we needed them and our defense (which held the Spartans to 68 yards total offense in the second half) made the big stops when they needed to.”
Things looked much brighter for Villa Park early in the game as it used the game’s first 6 minutes to drive 80 yards in 14 plays en route to taking a 7-0 lead on Mike Noble’s 1-yard run.
Jomo Stewart sparked the Villa Park drive by gaining 37 yards in 4 carries, including runs of 12 and 17 yards. Villa Park also got a 14-yard Noble run in the series as well as two pass completions for 16 yards by Johnson.
“They just did a very good job of blowing us off the line on that series,” Backstrom said.
El Modena, which was held to 17 yards rushing on 11 first half carries by the Spartan defense, tied the score at 7-7 with 1 minute left in the second period on a 61-yard pass from Adam Garcia to Trey Frank.