Fullerton may have established itself as the team to beat in the Freeway League with its 22-0 victory over Troy before 1,200 Friday night at Fullerton High.
Fullerton (5-1, 1-0) wore out Troy with a sturdy ground game led by John Wilkie (167 yards in 17 carries). His one touchdown, a 34-yard run two minutes into the third quarter was the game's final score.
The other touchdowns came courtesy of David Barrios, who scored from nine yards out in the first quarter and threw a 37-yard half-back option pass to receiver Michael Garner with less than a minute to play in the first half.
But what may separate Fullerton from the pack is a rock-solid defense that is long on experience and short on mistakes.
"This is definitely the best defense I've had since I've been at the school," said Coach Julian Smilowitz, now in his fourth year at Fullerton. "They have been playing together as a group since they were freshmen and sophomores. Now they go out there expecting to win."
In posting its third shutout in six games, Fullerton held Troy's rushing attack to 34 yards. Quarterback Steven Muther passed for 62 yards, with all seven completions going to Aaron Mason, but spent much of the evening trying to fend off the Indians, who sacked him twice, had one interception and forced three fumbles, of which they recovered two.
"They dominated us at the line of scrimmage and didn't let us get back into the game," Troy Coach John Turek said.
On Thursday, Troy (3-3, 0-1) was rocked by the news that standout running back Larry Montgomery's season had officially ended.
Montgomery injured his left knee in the second week of the season against Granada Hills Kennedy. At first it was believed the senior had only sustained a partial cartilage tear, but an MRI examination revealed damage to the anterior cruciate ligament.
Montgomery will require surgery.
Fullerton pretty much put away the game in the first half Friday, using three big plays to do it.
In the first quarter, Wilkie romped 51 yards down to the Warrior nine-yard line. On the next play, Barrios ran through four Troy tacklers and didn't stop until he crossed the goal line.
In the second quarter, it appeared Troy had stopped Fullerton on its 45-yard line, but were guilty of roughing punter Mike Garner. The Indians were given new life at the Warrior 40 with two minutes left in the half and promptly cashed in on Barrios' pass to Garner.
Wilkie ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-0 advantage.