(Whittier) – Eight games into the season and up until tonight, Jim Arnold felt that his California Condors had failed to play a complete game. On Thursday night it all changed as California played a bruising-style of offense and defensively held El Rancho to just 83 yards rushing.
The Condors held off a furious fourth quarter rally by the Dons to escape with a 24-20 win in Del Rio League play. The victory gives California a 2-2 record in league and drops El Rancho to 1-3 with one final game remaining.
With Gabriel Lozano seeing limited touches this week, California used Lawrence Gomez (91 yards), Aaron Garcia (85 yards), Justin Dankert (25 yards) and Josh Perez (47 yards) to grind out yardage in its win. The offense accounted for 279 yards rushing.
Although at the time Gomez’s fourth quarter touchdown with 10:29 left appeared to be the final nail in the coffin for the Dons, it proved crucial later in the game as the winning touchdown.
El Rancho’s Joe Sanchez failed to give up for the Dons as he found Johnny Garcia on a screen for a 45-yard touchdown pass with 9:54 remaining in the game.
The very next possession for El Rancho, Sanchez scored from one-yard out after he came up big on the previous play during a scramble. Sanchez found Garcia for a 19-yard gain for a first and goal at the Condors 1-yard line.
A defensive throughout the first quarter, California struck first on a nine play drive that covered 57-yards. Dankert bulled his way in from one-yard out for the games opening touchdown.
The Dons answered right back quickly gaining up the field until Josh Lopez scored from three-yards out on a rushing play.
Lozano’s two rush attempts in the final minute of the first half helped give the Condors a 14-7 lead as he found the end zone on a gritty 14-yard run.
Eric Amezquita accounted for the only scoring in the third quarter with a 42-yard field goal to extend California’s lead to ten.
After the final gun sounded, the Condors found itself in third place a half-game up over Whittier and Pioneer with one final game against La Serna. El Rancho in the meantime is on life-support for its playoff life as it is a game out after its loss with Whittier remaining on the schedule. The Dons can only hope that Whittier looses to Santa Fe and California looses to La Serna next week for any chance at grabbing the final playoff spot.
|California||Justin Dankert 1 run (Eric Amezquita)|
|El Rancho||Josh Lopez 3 run (Aldair Flores)|
|California||Gabriel Lozano 14 run (Amezquita)|
|California||Amezquita 42 yard field goal|
|California||Lawrence Gomez 2 run (Amezquita)|
|El Rancho||Johnny Garcia 45 pass from Joe Sanchez (Flores)|
|El Rancho||Sanchez 1 run (kick miss)|