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Hart avoids being ‘the one’

Defensive struggle keeps the Indians’ playoff hopes alive

Posted: November 7, 2008 10:54 p.m.
Updated: November 8, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Hart receiver Blake Borland (80) fights for yards in the first half as West Ranch's Ryan Gee, left, and Drew Wagner try to bring him down.

 

Oh, what could have been.

Or what should have been.

Had it not been for two plays and a couple of costly penalties, West Ranch might have won its first game against one of the Santa Clarita Valley's Big Four.

Instead, arguably the preeminent program in this valley's history squeaked by the fledgling Wildcats 18-13 Friday night at Cougar Stadium.

"When the final tick went off, I let off a big exhale," said Hart quarterback Spenser Souza.

Souza was a big reason for the Indians' victory, as well as receiver Blake Borland.

The pair connected on two fourth-down touchdowns.

Borland made seven catches for 88 yards. Souza was 11-of-23 for 127 yards, but kept Indians drives alive all night long with his legs. He carried the ball 17 times for 122 yards.

"He has a lot of critics," said Hart head coach Mike Herrington of his quarterback. "But if we didn't have Spenser Souza, the offense doesn't go."

The Indians (4-5, 2-2) keep their playoff hopes alive with the win and will be favored to beat Golden Valley next Friday. That victory would get them into the postseason.

But they might be lucky.

West Ranch (2-7, 1-3) had its share of opportunities Friday.

Late in the second quarter with the score tied 7-7, Wildcats running back Trent Yokofich had the West Ranch offense on his shoulders. Four consecutive runs tallied 50 yards to the Hart 37-yard line.

Yokofich fumbled on the next play, turning the ball over to Hart and allowing the teams to stay tied into halftime. Yokofich did amass 132 yards on 22 carries as the West ranch offense controlled most of the clock.

After an early Hart field goal gave the Indians a 10-7 lead, West Ranch mounted a nearly eight-minute drive that it them to the Hart 30.

On third-and-12, Wildcats quarterback Jake Bernards found a wide-open Frankie Madero in the end zone.
The ball popped out of his hands, then he caught it. He was out of bounds.

Hart then stopped West Ranch on fourth down.

After a 5-yard touchdown pass from Souza to Borland with 7:59 to play in the game, Hart scored on a two-point conversion to take an 18-7 lead.

Bernards connected with receiver Zak Snell on a 36-yard touchdown pass with five minutes to play, cutting the lead to 18-13. The Wildcats missed the two-point conversion.

After stopping Hart, they got the ball back with 1:48 to play on their own 29. A pass on first down for 11 yards was nullified by a penalty. Later, a first-down run by Bernards was called back because of a hold.

Hart's Ted Glasnow and C.J. Reyes combined for a sack on fourth down to end the Wildcats' hopes.

"Is it the new-school blues? I don't know," said West Ranch head coach Mike Kane of his team not being able to beat one of the Big Four. "It might be, but the kids don't think that. They battled."

West Ranch is now 0-7 against Hart, Canyon, Valencia and Saugus.

cosborne@the-signal.com

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