By Shel Segal
LA PUENTE – With both teams a combined 0-5 entering Friday night's game with just one touchdown between them, the Mark Keppel and Workman football teams knew something had to give. Unfortunately for the Aztecs, that something was Workman running back Alex Ayala.
Ayala had an outstanding game, rushing for 231 yards on 25 carries, scoring three touchdowns as Workman got the best of a struggling Keppel squad in a 30-0 nonleague victory at La Puente High.
But Ayala was humble with his success, saying after the game he didn't deserve all the credit.
"It was just the linemen," said Ayala, who scored on runs of 1, 43 and 2 yards. "That's it. I was just making the cuts."
His coach, Victor Perdomo, said Ayala was playing really well in the backfield for the Lobos (1-2).
"We got a rhythm," he said. "Alex Ayala was running the ball. His goal was to get four touchdowns. He got three. … I'm really proud of him. He's really kind of coming into his own."
Perdomo added while he knows Keppel (0-4) is having a rough season, it was nice to see that the Aztecs didn’t quit.
"It was a good game and (Keppel) played football," he said. "We're just happy to come out with a win."
Keppel quarterback Chris Navarrette tried his best to get the Aztecs on the scoreboard, even taking a hard hit at the Workman 2-yard line with less than two minutes left as he tried to lunge for the end zone on fourth down and give Keppel some points.
Navarrette completed four of nine passes for 61 yards. He said despite the losses, he likes how his teammates don't quit early and just dial it in.
"We don't give up," he said. "Our guys here, we do go out and give it our all."
He added now the Aztecs are just playing a mental game that they have to overcome.
"We just have to get our minds focused," said Navarrette, a senior. "We can't be afraid of the other teams. We have to be confident. We have to come out."
Running back Kyle Chuang also helped out on offense, carrying the ball 12 times for 42 yards.
Keppel coach John Tuttle said the challenge now is for the team to try and be positive.
"The kids kept on playing hard," he said. "They just got to hang in there, execute and we can't beat ourselves. We had some penalties that hurt us, and some turnovers. It's the little things we got to do.
"The kids played hard. The kids gave everything they had. We just got to keep building, keep getting better every week.