Scott Nemeth and Aliso Niguel’s stingy defense led the way to a 40-7 victory over Troy in a second-round Division VIII playoff game Friday.
Nemeth, the county’s fifth leading scorer, added to his total by rushing for five touchdowns, four in the first half. His one-yard touchdown run halfway through the third quarter was one of two carries he had in the second half.
Aliso Niguel (12-0) put Troy (7-5) away early, scoring three times in the first quarter on Nemeth runs of four, 15 and 12 yards.
“The first 22 minutes [of the game] was well as we have played all year,” Aliso Niguel Coach Joe Wood said.
Quarterback Wes Thomas, who was eight of 12 for 64 yards, had another rushing touchdown, after Nemeth rushed for his fourth, on a five-yard keeper off right tackle to give the Wolverines a 34-0 lead with less than three minutes left in the first half.
Aliso Niguel began another drive with 1:08 seconds left in the first half from their 42 yard line. After two incomplete passes, Thomas scrambled away from Warrior defenders and down the right sideline 47 yards before being brought down by Troy’s Steve Muther at Troy’s 11 yard line. With the clock running, Thomas tried to squeeze a pass into the end zone, but Troy’s J.D. Lawrence stepped in front of the pass and dashed for a 100-yard interception return to make it 34-7 at halftime.
The Wolverine defense held the Warriors to 68 yards’ total offense and only five first downs. “They took us out of the game early,” Troy Coach John Turek said. “It was hard to get anything going.”
Aliso Niguel will face South Hills in the semifinals.
“I know that South Hills and La Mirada like to pass, so we have to do a great job of defending the pass,” Wood said.