Yorba Linda football holds off Damien in opener

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8/19/2022

LA VERNE — The Damien football team dug itself a hole early in the game and found itself playing catch-up as in a season opening loss to a veteran Yorba Linda team, 28-19.

Yorba Linda scored on its first possession for a 7-0 lead at the 2:40 mark of the first quarter.

William Saucedo scored on a 3-yard run, his first of four touchdowns in the game.

“That’s an excellent team over there,” Spartans coach Matt Bechtel said. “I was disappointed with the way they pushed us around tonight, but you can’t take anything away from them.”

The Spartans came back and tied the score on a fourth-down 24-yard strike from Dylan Gutierrez to his cousin Ayden Gutierrez in the corner of the end zone.

Dylan Gutierrez completed complete 17 of 26 passes for 200 yards and rushed for 49 more to lead the Spartans offense.

Saucedo carried the ball 27 times for 139 yards and three touchdowns as the Mustangs dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage. He also scored on a 30-yard reception.

The bulk of his carries came behind center Logan Kemp, and his two guards, Rory Mosier and Matson Ochoa.

“Kemp’s a little tiny guy,” Mustangs coach Jeff Bailey said. “He played hard and did a good job tonight. We like to pound the ball and we able to do that tonight.”

Senior quarterback Reyn Beal’s touchdown pass to Saucedo came with 4:46 left in the third quarter for a 28-7 lead before the Spartans mounted their comeback.

Beal completed 12 of 14 passes for 160 yards.

The Spartans had their chances in the second half when the Gutierrez cousins hooked up for another score, a 19-yard pass to the end zone with defenders surrounding Ayden to make it 28-13 with 1:01 left in the third quarter,

After the Spartans’ third touchdown, Ayden Gutierrez took the kickoff 52 yards to the Mustangs’ 43-yard line but the Spartans went three downs and out to give the ball back to the Mustangs.

“We had some chances that didn’t work out,” Bechtel said. “That kickoff return almost went. We missed a bloc on a screen that could have gone and we had a couple of guys open in the end zone but they got pressure on us and we couldn’t complete it.”

“The season isn’t over” Bechtel said. “I love what we did in the offseason but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

The Spartans never quit fighting. They stopped Saucedo on their 1-yard line with 5:49 left in the game.

They took the ball 99 yards in nine plays, capped by a 1-yard run by sophomore Steve Chavez with 4:02 left in the game.

The onside kick failed and the Spartans were able to run out the clock.

Chavez led the Spartans’ ground attack, carrying the ball 13 times for 74 yards, including one 38-yard run that began their final drive.

By:

JOHN HONELL