DIVISION III : Smith Carries Esperanza Past St. Paul
Running back Jarod Smith ran for three second-half touchdowns and a two-point conversion to lead Anaheim Esperanza to a 25-7 victory over St. Paul in the Southern Section Division III championship game Saturday night at Cerritos College.
Smith, who had 46 yards in 11 carries, scored on runs of five, 16 and two yards as the Aztecs (14-0) capped the first perfect season in school history. It was their first section title since 1979. They lost in the finals in 1980, ’82 and ’84.
St. Paul (8-4-2) held a 7-3 lead when defensive back David Toruno apparently suffered a broken leg while breaking up a pass in the end zone with 2:22 to play in the third quarter. The game was stopped for 15 minutes while officials waited for paramedics to arrive.
Two plays after play resumed, Smith scored from the five to give Esperanza a 10-7 lead.
Smith scored his second touchdown on a 16-yard run around the right side with eight minutes to play, then ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 18-3.
The touchdown was set up by Esperanza back Mark Parlin, who intercepted a pass by Al Borunda at the St. Paul 29 and returned it to the 16.
Smith’s third touchdown, with 3:57 to play, also was set up by an interception, by Derrick Reaves at the Esperanza 46.
Esperanza opened the scoring late in the first half.
The Aztecs took the ball at the Swordsmen 26 with 39 seconds to play after a 21-yard punt by Matt Lenzen. A pass interference call and a 13-yard pass from Keith McDonald to Marcus Tayui gave Esperanza a first-and-goal at the eight with 20 seconds to play. After two incomplete passes, Clay King kicked a 25-yard field goal.
St. Paul took a 7-3 lead on the first possession of the second half on Shawn McKinney’s 29-yard touchdown run.