June 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Foothill captures decisive Crestview League win over Brea Olinda to clinch CIF playoff berth

Foothill linebacker Preston Raymond (No. 5) with teammates Cesar Ordonez (54) and Tyler Selden (50) after the game. Photos: Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone).

Foothill High School’s football team dominated all phases of its Crestview League game Friday night and came away with a 55-0 victory over Brea Olinda during homecoming at Tustin.

The Knights used a powerful running attack and a stingy defense. Foothill clinched a CIF playoff spot and next week will take on Yorba Linda for a chance to win the league title.

Knights running back Aaron Mitchell rushed for 138 yards and scored three touchdowns (did not play in the second half) as Foothill improved its record to 6-3 and 2-0 in league.

“We came out firing tonight,” said Mitchell, who had 14 carries and has now scored 19 TDs this season. “We still haven’t played our best game of the season yet. We can still get better.”

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The Knights defense led by defensive end Zach Schutt, linebacker Preston Raymond, defensive tackle Juan Juarez and defensive end Porter Elms were defensive standouts for the Knights that allowed the Wildcats to cross the 50-yard line only once in the first-half and forced four turnovers that stifled the Brea offense.

Juarez recovered a fumble on the first play of the game to set up the Knights first touchdown.

“I believe in my boys,” said Juarez, who recovered two fumbles in the game. “We’ve come out iffy over the last few weeks, but tonight we came out strong and we wanted to send a message to Yorba Linda that we’re coming for you next week.”

Following the Wildcats turnover, Mitchell carried the ball four consecutive times and scored on a one-yard run to give Foothill a 6-0 lead.

One play following a Brea Olinda three-and-out, Mitchell bolted up the middle for a 38-yard TD run and gave the Knights a 13-0 lead at the 8:45 mark of the opening quarter. 

Following a second Wildcats fumble, Foothill marched 61 yards in seven plays to up its lead to 20-0. Quarterback Nicholas Miali finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and the Knights led 20-0 with 4:03 left in the first quarter.

“We played a complete game with no mistakes,” said Miali, who threw two touchdown passes and ran for a TD. “We’ve had great energy over the last few weeks. Our goal is beat Yorba Linda and win league.”

Early in the second quarter, the Knights offense was on the attack again. Mitchell capped a seven-play, 62 yard scoring drive with a one-yard TD run, upping the Foothill lead to 27-0.

Later in the quarter, two plays following a third Brea Olinda turnover, Miali completed a pass over the middle to Michael Galey who outran the secondary enroute to a 53-yard touchdown pass play.

Late in the half senior Foothill safety Bode Jellerson intercepted a Wildcats pass – Brea’s fourth turnover – to set up the Knights final touchdown of the half. Miali completed a 13-yard TD pass to Connor Pietras that propelled the Knights to a 41-0 halftime lead.

“We prepared hard all week for this game,” said Raymond. “We came out firing tonight and our goal is to win a CIF championship.”

The Knights outgained the Wildcats 248-91 yards in the opening half. 

Foothill coach Doug Case seemed pleased with the decisive win.

“We controlled the line of scrimmage, ran and threw the ball well,” said Case. “We’re in the playoffs, now we have a big game next week against Yorba Linda (who lost to Villa Park Friday night 34-33). They’re big and physical and we’ll have to play great defense to beat them. Defense wins championships.”

Wildcats coach Jae Kim credited Foothill.

“They won every phase of the game, offense, defense and special teams,” said Kim. “They outplayed us and it showed on the scoreboard. We have to be resilient and come back and keep grinding it out.”  

Gino Marchetti completed a 73-yard TD pass to Galey, who had two catches for 126 yards and two TDs and Nico Gonzalez added a short TD run to close out the Knights scoring in the second half.

Quarterback Cullen Doyle completed seven passes for 74 yards to lead the Wildcats (5-4, 0-2).

—Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone