ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL / PREP EXTRA : DIVISION VII : Wilkie, Defense Get Job Done in Fullerton’s Victory

John Wilkie rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns in 15 carries to lead Fullerton to a 34-7 Division VII playoff victory over Covina Northview Friday at Fullerton High.

Fullerton, which advances past the first round for the first time since 1988, will play Redondo Beach Redondo Union in the second round.

While advancing might be new to Fullerton (10-1), the Indian defense was its old self. Fullerton kept Northview (4-6-1) off balance all night with constant pressure and held Viking running back Delano Rhyne, who had rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns, to only 85 yards.

“Our defense is something we take pride in,” Fullerton Coach Julian Smilowitz said after being doused with ice water by his players. “We try to push ourselves and play good defense.”


Whatever they try to do on defense seems to work. The Indians, who gave up only 70 points during the season, held the Vikings to only 84 yards in the first half and had two interceptions in the second half, one of which Joseph Emigh returned 40 yards for a touchdown.

When the defense wasn’t punishing the Vikings, Wilkie was.

The senior almost single-handedly carried Fullerton to its first two scores. Wilkie carried the ball six times for 67 yards and a touchdown on the Indians’ first drive, giving Fullerton a 7-0 lead.

Wilkie increased Fullerton’s lead to 14-0 when he ran 55 yards to cap a five-play, 80-yard drive with 7:41 left in the half.