By Corey Kwok
(San Gabriel) – Aztec quarterback John Chavez completed 15 of 27 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns to air Azusa past Gabrielino 34-20 in nonleague play Friday night. .
The Eagles saw two of its rushers total over a hundred yards. Eddie Moreno amassed 132 on 16 touches and one score while right behind was Oscar Rivas who totaled 110 over 17.
Chavez went to his favorite target Abraham Ochoa seven times for 163 yards and three visits to the end zone, the last a 70 yard hook and ladder sprint that eventually became the Eagles’ rally killer. Gabrielino had pulled to within seven the drive before on a one yard scoot by Matthew Matters.
Gabrielino took possession but punted after having stopped Azusa on fourth down at the three yard line. Chavez struck Jesus Romero for nine and an Aztec first down but was picked off by Moreno. The latter carried three times for 36 before scoring from six out to give Gabrielino a 6-0 lead. The Rivas extra point sank wide left.
The Aztecs, helped along by an interception and fumble recovery, scored on four of its first five second quarter drives to turn it into an apparent rout. Chavez found Ochoa the first time for a 7-6 lead 17 yards to pay dirt just 41 seconds into the period.
After an Eagle drive ended in punt on fourth and a mile, running back Kendrec McDade broke loose on the first play up the middle and zig zagged 70 yards to cash in. McDade then pulled an interception that paved way to another Chavez-Ochoa connection for 34 yards and a 21-6 lead. McDade led all Aztec rushers with 93 on seven chances.
Azusa’s linebacker and secondary core then negated potential touchdown sprints by Moreno off a kick return of 22 and rush of 24 the play after before recovering a fumble near midfield. Aztec magic struck again on play one a mere 50 seconds later as Bryan Nieto went off to the races 54 yards to put Azusa up 27-6. The extra point attempt was blocked.
Gabrielino aired itself back into contention 1:26 from the halftime break. Facing a third and six deep into Aztec turf, Josh Acosta spiraled a 28 yard endzone strike to Alex Munoz and ran in the deuce conversion. The Eagles trailed 27-14.
The third quarter finished scoreless. Gabrielino went deep to the Azusa 15 only to bobble it away. Azusa returned the favor but Munoz (Alex) picked Chavez at the 13. The Eagles ate up the last 6:37 of the period and took 56 tics of the 4th to encompass a 16 play march lasting seven minutes 21 seconds with Matthew Matters’ three foot push that rallied the Eagles to within seven at 20-27.
An otherwise well played contest came to a painful end as the officials declared the game over after Gabrielino’s three year starting lineman Erik Rosales was hammered to the turf. Rosales stood motionless for about half an hour before paramedics arrived. Rosales is listed in stable condition with a reported neck injury.
Azusa 0 27 0 7 - 34
Gabrielino 6 8 0 6 - 20
(2:14 Gabrielino 6-0/6-0) Eddie Moreno 6yd run/Oscar Rivas XPT failed, wide left
(11:19 Azusa 6-6/7-6) John Chavez 17yd pass to Abraham Ochoa/Jose Nunez XPT good
(8:19 Azusa 13-6/14-6) Kendrec McDade 70yd run/J.Nunez XPT good
(3:19 Azusa 20-6/21-6) Chavez 34yd pass to Ochoa/J.Nunez XPT good
(2:29 Azusa 27-6/27-6) Bryan Nieto 54yd run/J.Nunez XPT failed, blocked
(1:26 Gabrielino 12-27/14-27) Josh Acosta 28yd pass to Alex Nunez/Acosta 2pt CONV run good
(11:04 Gabrielino 20-27/20-27) Matthew Matters 1yd run/Rivas XPT failed, wide left
(10:03 Azusa 33-20/34-20) Chavez 70yd pass to Ochoa/J.Nunez XPT good
A: John Chavez 15-27 (249) 3 TD-2 INT
G: Josh Acosta 2-5 (34) 1 TD-1 INT
A: Abraham Ochoa 7-163-3 TD; Jose Nunez 4-56; Jesus Romero 2-22; Steven Blount 1-5; Bryan Nieto 1-3
G: Alex Nunez 1-28-1 TD; Keith Clapp 1-6
A (20-165-2 TD): Kendrec McDade 7-93-1 TD; Nieto 5-57-1 TD; Romero 2-12; Jacob Martinez 1-11; Blount 1-3; Chavez 4(-11)
G (50-311-2 TD): Eddie Moreno 16-132-1 TD; Oscar Rivas 17-110; Matthew Matters 10-44-1 TD; Acosta 6-16; Clapp 1-9
A: Frankie Felix 7-293
G: Rivas 4-195
A: McDade 1-13; Desmond Reed 1-8
G: Moreno 3-93; Matters 2-7; Clapp 2-4
A: Ochoa 2-110
G: Acosta 2-103
A: Reed 2-13
G: Matters 1-2