Foothill Adjusts, Beats Canyon
Foothill’s 17-0 victory over Canyon Saturday, before an estimated 1,000 at Tustin High, was more than a Century League game. For the Knights it was a test of character.
Earlier in the week the Knights (4-4, 2-1) learned that four players, including starting quarterback Robert Koster, would not play because of disciplinary action. Coach Casey Mazzotta would not say what Koster did but said the action was taken by school officials.
Mazzotta sounded as if he did not expect to Koster to return this season. “We’re prepared for that possibility,” he said.
In Koster’s spot, Mazzotta inserted Dana Pino-Dempsey, primarily a receiver and running back, and told him not to lose the game.
So Pino-Dempsey (who had two days of preparation) spent much of the night handing off to running back Terrence Newman, who had 172 yards and one touchdown in 20 carries.
“I think we learned something about ourselves,” Mazzotta said. “We didn’t have to challenge the kids this week; the situation challenged us. We knew we had to pull together.”
Newman, whose seven-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter sealed the victory, said the players had their own meeting on Thursday to make sure they were focused on the game.
“We talked about our goal,” Newman said. “Even though we had lost four guys, our goal as a team was the same--to win.”
Skyler Champion rushed for 66 yards in six carries, including a 50-yard burst in the third quarter.
“We thought we could run on the outside,” Newman said. “But we were able to do more running on the inside, and that soon opened up the outside.”
Foothill’s offense squeezed out enough offense--Matthew Goto had a two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Michael Whiddon had the only points in the first half with a 37-yard field goal--and the Knights’ defense bottled up the Comanches.
The unit sacked Canyon quarterback Jarod Bauer four times for minus-33 yards, and held him to 65 yards passing. The Comanches (2-5-1, 1-1-1) couldn’t run the ball much either, netting 12 yards.
Thanks to fumble recoveries deep in Foothill territory, the Comanches had two chances to score on field-goal tries. But kicker Aram Keulian missed both attempts, from 32 and 44 yards.
Canyon Coach Tom Bailey blamed himself for the loss.
“I did a poor job this week preparing these kids offensively,” Bailey said.