May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Hurtado leads way again as Cypress wins outright title with 42-14 win over Pacifica

Isaac Hurtado of Cypress scores his first touchdown for Cypress Thursday night. (Photos Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Cypress High’s senior running back Isaac Hurtado stepped up big again Thursday night in the Centurions biggest game of the season.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

Hurtado helped Cypress cap a perfect regular season and the Empire League outright title with a 42-14 victory over Pacifica at Bolsa Grande.

Hurtado rushed for a career best 285 yards on 26 carries, scored four TDs and threw for another to lead Cypress (10-0, 5-0). He had touchdown runs of 20, 70, 55 and 1 yard for Cypress and also hauled in two catches for 22 yards.

It’s the first time the Centurions have gone 10-0 according to Coach Rick Feldman.

“I couldn’t be happier for our guys,” Feldman said. “Pacifica is really good. They started a little slow this season and they’ve been rolling really well as far as league went. It was a big challenge for our guys and we played the way we have all season and we were able to pull away at the end.

“I couldn’t be happier. It’s exciting to be 10-0 for the first time in school history so we’re all pretty fired up. The O-Line was great all night, Isaac was great all night and our defense bent a couple times, but when we needed them they did what they’ve done all year.”

Hurtado fueled the victory from the start when he scored on a 20-yard TD in the first quarter.

“I’m just super excited, this game meant so much more than any other game we’ve ever played,” said Hurtado. “It was going to keep the perfect season alive and get the whole league championship. I just came in thinking I was going to try my best.

“Before every game I always pray and I ask God to give me strength. I’m just thankful for everyone who was here to support me and without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Pacifica (5-5, 3-2) came in hoping to pull off an upset and earn a share of the league title with the Centurions but like so many teams, was unable to contain Hurtado. The Mariners will still advance to the CIF playoffs as the No. 2 team from the league.

In the first quarter, the game was delayed about 25 minutes when Pacifica linebacker Brandon Pederson/tight end was injured trying to make a tackle. He was treated by medical personnel and transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

Pacifica Coach Vinnie Lopez said X-rays proved to be negative.

“He’s the team captain and a good guy,” Lopez said. “He’s a senior and one of our team leaders. As of right now, X-rays have come back negative. They did C-T scans on him and they anticipate that will come back pretty good too.

“When he was down there, he was responsive and he could move all his limbs. It was more of a precautionary measure that they took him out than anything else because he said he could stand up.”

On the first play following the lengthy delay, Hurtado bolted for a TD. The Centurions got excellent field position before the injury delay when Pacifica’s punter was unable to handle the center snap, giving Cypress possession at the 20.

Pacifica evened the score on a 5-yard TD run by freshman quarterback Darius Cowens early in the second quarter.

But then Hurtado had two more TD runs and hooked up with Elijah Vaielua on a 35-yard TD pass with six minutes left in the second quarter to put Cypress ahead 28-7.

“We’ve been practicing the play and especially with Elijah, I just have to get it in the general area and he will jump up and get it so I give him most of the credit for that one.”

Pacifica cut the lead to 28-14 on a 3-yard TD run by Isaiah Blevins late in the first half. But the Centurions had two more scores, including a 38-yard TD pass from quarterback Dylan Eldridge to Vaielua late in the third quarter.

Blevins led Pacifica with 87 yards on 19 carries. Cowens passed for 47 yards but the Mariners fumbled twice.

Pacifica had to deal with losing one of their emotional leaders on defense, Pederson.

“We gave up the touchdown right after that on the first play; he’s the leader on the defense and our middle linebacker,” Lopez said. “We were trying to reshuffle guys and guys get misaligned or they’re out of place. For a little while, it took us a while to figure out where we were supposed to be. It’s tough when you’re a 16 or 17 year-old kid to see that and see your brother, a guy you battled all season with and to see him go off on a stretcher it probably gets inside your head a little.

“I thought we played OK in the second and third quarter. It just got out of control. We’re young; our quarterback is a freshman. We start a lot of sophomores and young guys, juniors with no experience so for us, I think it’s a good season. I don’t think anybody anticpated we would finish number two in the league and still be playing for a league championship in week 10 vs. Cypress considering how many young guys we had going tonight.”

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com