Senior running back Isaac Hurtado has had his praises sung before, but Cypress High football coach Rick Feldman wants to make sure no one forgets.
“Tell me he’s not first-team all-county,” Feldman said after Friday night’s game.
Hurtado produced 283 total yards and four touchdowns, leading No. 4-seeded Cypress to a 35-8 victory over visiting Huntington Beach in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs at Handel Stadium.
Cypress (11-0) had already gotten off to its best start in school history. The Empire League champion Centurions, who have matched their 2009 team for most wins in a single season, will travel to play Ventura (6-5), the third-place team from the Pacific View League, in the quarterfinals on Nov. 15. Ventura edged Covina Northview 38-35 on Friday in the first round.
“In the beginning of the game, I always try to pound it,” said Hurtado, who rushed 27 times for 132 and two touchdowns. “As Marshawn Lynch said, ‘You just have to keep hitting them over and over and over again until they don’t want to hit you no more.’
“Once they don’t want to, you just cut it on them. I enjoy doing that.”
The Centurions proved elusive in the open field, too. Elijah Vaielua escaped the grasp of Christian Moore on third-and-nine from the Cypress 20, turning a missed tackle at the line of scrimmage into a 35-yard gain.
Cypress would cap its second drive with a 10-yard touchdown by Hurtado, his second of the night.
Vaielua also had seven catches for 127 yards, including a pair of grabs that went for big gains of 32 and 46 yards.
“He’s a phenomenal wide receiver,” Feldman said. “He is fast. He has unbelievable hands, and not only is he shifty, [but] he is so strong that it is hard for guys to bring him down.”
It only took one play for Cypress to score on its third drive. Dylan Eldredge found Hurtado in the flat, and the 6-foot-3, 205-pound running back broke two tackles on his way to an 81-yard touchdown down the left sideline.
Huntington Beach (2-9), the fifth-place team from the Sunset League, won the turnover battle by a 3-0 margin in the first half, including an interception in the end zone by Jonah Del Rosario.
The Oilers also recovered a pair of fumbles, including one forced against Hurtado on a run that would have resulted in a fourth-down conversion in Huntington Beach territory.
“We fought,” Moore said. “Against a big-time running back like that, you’ve got to be great. You’ve got to fight for everything. He got us on some plays, but we also got him.
“I’m proud of my guys because it’s easy to fold against a running back and team like that, but we didn’t fold.”
Moore, a tight end who has committed to Kansas State, had game-high totals of four catches for 30 yards in the contest.
Offensive struggles plagued the Oilers, as they did throughout the season. Huntington Beach did not record a first down until its final drive of the first half.
Hurtado added to his big performance on the first play from scrimmage coming out of the locker room. Eldredge got the ball to Hurtado in space near the right sideline, and Hurtado worked his way through four defenders for a 70-yard touchdown.
Huntington Beach struck back on the ensuing possession for its only score of the night. Brandon Cannella rolled out to his right and scrambled for a 23-yard touchdown. Del Rosario had a key block downfield on the play.
Cypress went 10-0 in the regular season for the first time this season. Feldman, in his sixth year, became the winningest coach in program history, surpassing Ray Fenton (2005-09) with 41 wins.
“It’s special because there have been some really good coaches here,” Feldman said of setting the record. “To have the most wins just means I probably stuck it out the longest. That’s all.”
Huntington Beach has qualified for the playoffs in three out of four years with Brett Brown as the head coach. Those playoff appearances have seen the Oilers suffer three first-round losses on the road to Tustin, St. Margaret’s and Cypress.
An emotional Brown said goodbye to each of his seniors individually. The Oilers’ senior class was the first to spend their entire career with Brown.
“Really, really special group to me,” Brown said. “These kids are not only good football players, but they’re the best people. They’re all going to be successful in life, and I’m so proud of every single one of them.
“It’s hard to say goodbye to any of your seniors and any of your teams.”
CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs
Cypress 35, Huntington Beach 8
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Huntington Beach 0 – 0 – 8 – 0 — 8
Cypress 21 – 0 – 7 – 7 — 35
C – Hurtado 5 run (Lajos kick), 7:20.
C – Hurtado 10 run (Lajos kick), 1:57.
C – Hurtado 81 pass from Eldredge (Lajos kick), 0:00.
C – Hurtado 70 pass from Eldredge, 11:41.
HB – Cannella 23 run (Moore run), 7:54.
C – Anesi 3 run (Lajos kick), 10:26.
HB – Cannella, 3-32, 1 TD.
C – Hurtado, 27-132, 2 TDs.
HB – Gardner, 9-22-0, 42.
C – Eldredge, 11-16-1, 301, 2 TDs.
HB – Moore, 4-30.
C – Hurtado, 2-151, 2 TDs.
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