By Tim Peterson
(Hacienda Heights) – Diamond Ranch shut out Los Altos in the second half and the offense did enough to beat host Los Altos 23-10 Friday night in the Hacienda League opener.
The Panthers trailed 10-7 at the half as both teams struggled to find their offense. The Panthers turned the ball over three times in the first half. In the second half their defense went into lockdown mode while outscoring the Conquerors 16-0.
Diamond Ranch marched 60 yards on 11 plays on their first possession of the third quarter with Connor Clark capping it with a seven-yard touchdown run for a 14-10 lead. The Panthers took control with that drive and never trailed again.
Later, early in the fourth quarter Richard Bernal booted a 43-yard field goal to make it 17-10. The Panthers iced it four minutes later when a 49-yard pass play from Cade Miller to T.J. Cobb set up a two -yard TD jaunt by Clark.
Los Altos had a couple of chances to get back into it but twice quarterback David Hacegaba was picked off in the end zone. Miller, playing on both sides of the ball, and D.J. Shanks both had interceptions in the last five minutes.
Clark rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries to anchor the ground attack.
It appeared Diamond Ranch would draw first blood but the Panthers fumbled on the one-yard line early in the contest. Los Altos then drove all the way down to the D Ranch three-yard line before stalling. Yony Lemus kicked a 20-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
After another turnover, a Miller interception on the second possession, Diamond Ranch finally got going on their next series driving 61 yards on six plays for the first touchdown of the night. Miller connected with Shanks who made a nifty move at the goal line before scooting in for a 7-3 lead.
The Conquerors got their only score of the contest on the next series. Rene Zaldivar rumbled 45 yards down to the Diamond Ranch five. Two plays later Zedekiah Rodriguez hauled in a three-yard pass from Hacegaba and Los Altos regained the lead. Los Altos took that advantage into the break before Diamond Ranch took over in the second half.
Miller completed just 8 of 15 for 98 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once as Diamond Ranch tuned the ball over four times overall. Shanks caught four for 39 and the score.
Zaldivar rushed for 87 yards on 14 carries for the Conquerors. Hacegaba threw for 134 yards but was hurt by three interceptions. Shanks had two picks for the Panthers. Rodriguez hauled in three passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Diamond Ranch improved to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in league, while Los Altos fell to 2-4 and 0-1.