La Mirada Defeats La Habra For The First Time In Four Seasons

By Tom Connolly

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LA HABRA – For the second straight week the top-ranked La Mirada High School football team racked up impressive numbers enroute to a victory over a big named opponent.

This time the Matadores recorded 532 yards of offense and defeated La Habra Thursday night going away, 45-27, in a nonleague game at La Habra High.

 

Johnny Hills rushed for 197 yards and scored two touchdowns and Gerry Myres threw three touchdown passes to lead the Matadores’ attack.
“I’ve lost every year since freshmen year to La Habra so beating them in my senior year means everything,” said Myres, who completed 14 passes for 231 yards.

“Our coaches had us ready and we all did our part.”

It marks the first time in four seasons La Mirada (2-0) has beaten the Highlanders (1-1).

The Matadores didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard in the opening quarter.  La Mirada ran six plays in the first 12 minutes of the game and scored TDs on four of them.

On La Mirada’s first play from scrimmage following a La Habra punt, Myres threw a short pass to Dallis Shipp who split a pair of defenders and raced 49 yards for a touchdown giving the Matadores a, 7-0, lead.  Moments later, Hills took a handoff and raced 73 yards for a score upping La Mirada’s lead to 14-0.

The Highlanders countered with a touchdown but three plays later Hills broke a 70-yard run for a TD.

La Habra QB Sean Sparling tossed a touchdown pass to Christian Casas to cut the lead to 21-13 but Myres answered by lofting a perfectly placed 48-yard TD pass down the middle to Shipp and the Matadores led, 28-13, after the first quarter.

Shipp used his 6-5-height advantage to haul in six passes for 149 yards and two TDs,

The two defensives stiffened in the second quarter with only the Austin Watkins 39-field goal being the only points giving the Matadors a 31-13 lead at halftime.

La Mirada’s defense, led by Lance Manzon and John Walker, forced three La Habra turnovers in the second quarter.  Manzon and Walker each recovered a fumble in the quarter and DB Tyler Hallock intercepted a Sparling pass near the end zone to foil a late Matadores scoring opportunity.

“We had the mindset coming into this game to get after them and we did it,” said Walker.

In the third quarter a costly La Habra penalty and a missed field goal gave La Mirada an opportunity to get back into the game.   The Highlanders were flagged for a motion penalty on a fourth-down play at the La Mirada one-yard line.  After the penalty was assessed Watkins short FG attempt sailed wide.

The Matadores then put together a long drive that was aided by a roughing-the-passer and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against La Habra.  Carlos Martin capped the drive with a one-yard TD run cutting the lead to, 31-20, with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter.

With La Habra gaining momentum La Mirada’s QB, Gerry Myres, and his twin brother, James, pulled off the play of the game.  On a fourth-down play from the Highlanders’ 26-yard line Myres faked a handoff into the line and rolled out to his right and completed a short pass to James Myres who bolted 26 yards into the end zone giving the Matadores a 38-21 lead in the final seconds of the quarter.

That was the backbreaker and secured the win for La Mirada.

“No excuses, they were a better team tonight,” said La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta.  ‘They are a big and physical team and they hammer the ball and wear you out.  Their offensive line and is as good as anyone’s around.  I expect them to win their league.”

The Matadores offense line of Nofo Tii, Hugo Correa, Spencer Ueli-Faatolia, Chris Cisneros, Michael Trani and Tyler Luatua helped La Mirada gained 301 yards on the ground.

Adam Carrasco rushed for 94 yards and a TD and Luatua caught six passes for the Matadores.

La Mirada has scored 101 points in their first two games this season.

Martin had two TDs for La Habra and Sparling passed for 205 yards and a touchdown.

Despite the win La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti says there is lots of room for improvement.

“I’m happy to be 2-0 but we had too many stupid mistakes tonight,” said Moschetti, a former La Miarada QB.   “We had three holding penalties, a roughing the passer and an unsportsmanlike penalty.   We have to play smarter and stay more focused.”

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