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Mistakes Prevent Keppel From Scoring

  • By Parimal M. Rohit
LA PUENTE - 9/10/10 - The end zone remained elusive for the Mark Keppel High School football team as the Aztecs were shut out for the second consecutive game - this time by Workman High, 34-0, in a CIF nonleague game at La Puente High School on Friday night.

Despite two opportunities in the red zone and a defense that held the Lobos (1-0) at bay for most of the game, Keppel's youth prevailed with several mistakes preventing them from taking advantage of prime scoring opportunities. Just the same, Workman took advantage of a few first quarter miscues to give them enough offense to cruise to a comfortable victory.

"We had opportunities today. We were so close," Keppel coach Bobby Madrid candidly observed after the game. "We were fine between the 20 and the 20, but we just had a hard time finishing. We can move the ball. We just have to grow up real fast and make proper adjustments."

Many of those adjustments would have helped in the first quarter, when the Lobos scored consecutive touchdowns with stellar defensive and special teams play.

Leading 6-0 roughly midway through the first quarter, senior Lobos linebacker Felix Preciado intercepted a Tyler Takeshita pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.

The Aztecs (0-2) went three-and-out on the ensuing possession when senior Lobos receiver George Portela returned a Keppel punt 31 yards for a touchdown to give Woodman a 20-0 lead with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter.

Spotting Woodman the 20-point lead, Keppel finally appeared to have its act together with a 72-yard drive, including runs of 26 by Aztec running back Nathan Max and 17 by running back Adrian Portillo, placing the Aztecs on the Lobos five-yard line almost four minutes into the second quarter.

However, Portillo failed to convert on a fourth-and-two play, turning the ball over to Woodman on downs five yards short of the end zone.

Woodman added another touchdown before halftime, when Lobos quarterback Val Cervantes connected with receiver Elias Oropeza for an 18-yard touchdown score.

Keppel had the end zone within its sights again just before halftime when Takeshita attempted a pass down the middle for a score in the closing seconds of the second quarter. Hower, Oropeza intercepted the pass inside the Woodman five yard line with 15 seconds remaining in the half, allowing the Lobos to preserve a 27-0 lead at the break.

The Lobos rounded out the scoring when Cervantes ran for an 8-yard score on a quarterback keeper with 4:06 remaining in the game.

Despite the shutout, Keppel ran an effective ground game, rushing for 147 yards in the contest. Portillo finished with 39 rushing yards on six carries, while Esquiel Jimenez added 49 yards on 14 carries and Max finished with 42 yards on five carries.

Takeshita finished the game with four interceptions.

Lobos senior running back Gabriel Fychok ran over the Aztec defense for 120 yards on 13 carries, including a 54-yard run midway through the second quarter.

"I thought we would have been a little more successful with our ground game," Madrid said after the game. "Overall, we're doing great getting the ball to the red zone, but once we are there, the other team is adjusting to its goal line defense. We have to get quickly learn to make adjustments on offense if we want to be successful."

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