Savanna Clinches Playoff Berth With 24-12 Victory


Savanna High School is going to the Southern Section Division VI playoffs for only the second time in the decade.

Savanna (5-3-1 overall, 3-0-1 in league), behind running back/linebacker Kenison PoChing, overcame a sluggish first half to defeat Anaheim, 24-12.

"We set goals at the beginning of the year," said Fred DiPalma, the first-year coach. "One was to go to the playoffs, the other was to win league. We've achieved the first. The school has never won a league championship in football. I hope they don't let up. I don't think they will.

PoChing, who led the team with 109 yards on 25 carries, lost three fumbles and still had more yardage than the entire Anaheim offense, which was held to 75 yards.

Neither team scored until the second quarter, when Savanna's Keith Cruz kicked a 23-yard field goal. Anaheim answered with an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chad Campbell to David Geary with 16 seconds left in the first half.

Anaheim (2-7, 0-4) was not heard from again until two seconds remained in the game and Robert Jones returned a kickoff return 93 yards.

Savanna also had a quick offensive spurt, scoring two touchdowns in less than two minutes in the second half.

"I told them at halftime, you control your own destiny," DiPalma said. "You can accept this or not. I'm really proud of the way they came out in the second half. The first half, they played terrible."

The touchdowns came on a 33-yard pass from Rebel quarterback Carlos Robledo to receiver Vince Flores four minutes into the third quarter. On Anaheim's next possession, Jones fumbled, and PoChing recovered to set up a 20-yard touchdown run by Leon Landry.

With 19 seconds left, Ben Williford fell on a blocked Anaheim punt in the end zone.. Jones returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.

The Rebels have not been to the playoffs since 1983, and before that, 1977.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World