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Agoura Goes for It and Stops Rio Mesa

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It’s the kind of decision that sets a tone and turns around a game.

Facing fourth and five on Rio Mesa’s 35-yard line midway through the third quarter of a tie game, Agoura Coach Charlie Wegher sent out the punt team, then called time out and reconsidered.

Quarterback Ryan McCann found tight end Marcus Helfman with a pass over the middle, Helfman barreled to the two, fumbled, and wide receiver Garrett Lepisto scooped up the ball and scored.

Talk about a spark.

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Agoura moved the ball like wildfire from then on and demolished Rio Mesa, 33-14, on Friday night.

“During the week we talked about getting off our heels and being aggressive,” said Wegher, whose team lost to Buena last week. “I thought about that and decided to go for it.”

Chris Poling of Agoura rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns in 20 carries, including 134 yards and two scores in the third quarter when Agoura (2-1) outscored Rio Mesa, 19-7.

The victory was particularly sweet for Wegher, who played quarterback under Rio Mesa Coach George Contreras in 1981 at Westlake.

Wegher’s memory served him well. Agoura was well-prepared for Contreras’ wing-T offense, which he ran at Westlake.

Rio Mesa (2-1), which was averaging 361 yards rushing a game, managed only 108 and 14 plays ended in losses. Jay Flores, who entered the game with 351 yards, was held to 25 in 12 carries.

“We are bigger up front than they are, and it helped us on both sides of the ball,” Wegher said.

Poling scored on a 37-yard run early in the third quarter to give Agoura a 14-7 lead after a failed fake punt by Rio Mesa.

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The Spartans tied the score on an 89-yard pass play from Paul Ayala to Ushunde Samuel.

Wegher’s aggressive call came on Agoura’s next possession. After Rio Mesa ran three plays and punted, Poling gained 11, 12, 11 and 29 yards on consecutive carries before scoring on a one-yard run to give the Chargers a 26-14 lead.

McCann, who completed eight of 17 passes for 77 yards, hit Lepisto with a 12-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Rio Mesa made it 7-7 in the second quarter on a 56-yard run by Jahi Evans. Poling had a 25-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

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Ryan Antzoulatos of Agoura had 92 yards in 10 carries.


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