PREP EXTRA: SATURDAY FOOTBALL PULLOUT : Esparza, Kalcevich Lead Brea Olinda to Victory Over Savanna


Jon Looney and Fred Di Palma were right on the mark earlier this week.

The Brea Olinda coach and his Savanna counterpart predicted the Orange League showdown would come down to the final play.

It did.

And it took a sack by linebackers Paul Contreras and Ryan Jones of Savanna quarterback Brandon Warden on a series that began at the Brea Olinda 10-yard line for the Wildcats to preserve a wild 40-34 victory over the Rebels on Friday night at Western High.

Brea Olinda took the lead with 1 minute 7 seconds remaining on a 45-yard scoring pass to Guillermo Esparza.

When this one was over, both coaches stood at midfield exhausted. Brea Olinda players jumped for joy. Some from Savanna wept.

"That was a track meet," Brea Olinda's Looney said. "I only want to play them once."

The teams combined for 886 yards in total offense. Esparza caught six passes for 281 yards and four touchdowns. Wildcat quarterback Matt Kalcevich threw for 325 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another. Savanna's Eric Shine ran for touchdowns of 13, seven, 85, one and 42 yards. He had 245 yards rushing.

"I've never been through anything like this before," said Esparza, a junior.

Brea Olinda scored on the fourth play from scrimmage from the Savanna 34 when Kalcevich passed down the middle of the field for Esparza. He beat Shine, who was defending, at the 31 and ran in.

Shine got his first score, capping a 12-play, 69-yard drive with a 13-yard run on the opening play of the second quarter.

But Kalcevich struck back. He made a great fake on a handoff. That brought in the Savanna secondary. When Kalcevich came up throwing, he found Esparza again, this time about 30-yards behind Shine with a 73-yard touchdown pass.

Back came the Rebels. Again it was Shine, capping a 64-yard drive with a seven-yard run around right end.

Kalcevich regained the lead for Brea Olinda with an 18-yard pass to a wide open Esparza in the left corner of the end zone with 6:17 left in the half, but Shine countered by busting off right tackle for an 85-yard score on the next play from scrimmage.

Esparza got behind the Savanna secondary again, this time hooking up with Kalcevich on a 46-yard pass play that set up Jerome Owens' one-yard plunge with 1:52 to go. The third conversion of the night by kicker Scott Davis made it 27-20 in favor of Brea.

But Savanna wasn't through. The Rebels went 66 yards in five plays to tie the score. on Shine's one-yard run.

In the second half, both teams were a little punchy.

Owens rumbled in from the one-yard line for a go-ahead score with 1:52 left in the third quarter, but Shine countered again to tie. He broke free of the grasp of Brea Olinda tackler and raced 42 yards around left end.

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