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Villa Park’s Stremick Takes Charge

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sooner or later, it figured that the outcome between Villa Park and Brea Olinda Thursday night at El Modena would come down to Sam Stremick.

The Spartans’ Mr. Do Just About Everything quarterback/defensive back passed for 141 yards and a touchdown, made several key tackles, recovered a fumble, blocked Brea’s late field goal attempt, ran for the winning touchdown and secured a 20-14 victory for Villa Park with a game-ending interception.

You want more? How about being so humble after just another career day?

“The last couple of drives they were getting some breaks and we were getting some breaks,” Stremick, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior, said after all those heroics. “It just finally worked out.”

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Well, he was right about things working out. With Stremick hitting his first five passes, Villa Park (2-0) marched out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and looked like it would breeze.

Brea (1-1), which had dropsies all night, fumbled to start the second quarter, and Stremick had the Spartans on the march again. But with a second and goal on the Wildcats’ 23, his rollout pass was dropped by Nathan Johnson. The drive stalled, and suddenly, so did Villa Park.

Despite losing four of seven fumbles and being penalized five times in key situations for 42 yards, Brea bounced back, thanks to the efforts of running back Jerome Owens and a strong thrust by his offensive line. Although he didn’t score, Owens pounded the Spartans and finished with 166 yards in 17 carries. His seven-yard run set up a 38-yard touchdown catch-and-run by wide receiver Guillermo Esparza from quarterback Matt Kalcevich 18 seconds before halftime.

Brea tied the score with just over eight minutes to play on Kalcevich’s four-yard run, capping a seven-play, 65-yard drive that included a brilliant 44-yard run by Owens.

But in the end, after Brea had two tries at a score deep in Spartan territory, Stremick wouldn’t quit. He led the Spartans 61 yards in the final 38 seconds for the winning score, which occurred on a 19-yard run by . . . guess who?

Stremick’s 31-yard pass to Chris Bell, who was hobbled by a bruised foot, set up the winning score.

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Then Stremick picked off Owens’ desperation pass to seal the victory.

“We had our backs against the wall there for a while, but we stopped them,” Villa Park Coach Pat Mahoney said.

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