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La Quinta Holds Off Santiago to End Dry Spell

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The La Quinta-Santiago game Thursday started with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Santiago’s Rudy Rodriguez.

The next three quarters belonged to La Quinta, and eventually, so did the victory. The Aztecs withstood a fourth-quarter rally by Santiago and won, 28-24, to post their first Garden Grove League victory since 1998.

“I’m really happy for these kids,” La Quinta Coach Guy Gardner said, “and proud, especially after [a 49-12 loss to Garden Grove] last week.”

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La Quinta (2-4, 1-2) didn’t do anything fancy. They gave the ball to their tailbacks 43 times, and both Pablo Reyes (22 carries, 93 yards, one touchdown) and Elijah German (21 carries, 70 yards, one touchdown) came through.

Santiago (2-4, 1-2) might have come in as a favorite, but after the opening kickoff return they struggled for three quarters. The Cavaliers fumbled five times, and the Cavaliers “drove” a total of three yards for their only touchdown in that span after a 56-yard interception return by Randall Huffman.

The Cavaliers made it interesting in the final quarter, driving twice against a tiring La Quinta defense and getting touchdown runs of one and three yards from Viliamu Taafua.

Santiago got the ball with 3 minutes 16 seconds remaining, but turned the ball over on downs.

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