TUSTIN – El Modena scored three times in just over a minute and got two defensive touchdowns from Colin Keefe as it cruised to a nonleague win over Foothill, 49-7, Thursday at Tustin High.
Both teams came into the game with only one day of full practice due to the smoke and poor air quality created by Canyon Fire 2.
“I thought it was kind of good for us, though,” El Modena coach Matt Mitchell said of the practice schedule, “because I think we got some rest and healed up a little bit. Our focus tonight was about us. We came in tonight with focus.”
The Century Conference crossover game closed out nonleague play for both teams.
No. 19 El Modena (5-2) opens up North Hills League play against Brea Olinda on Thursday, Oct. 19. Foothill hosts Villa Park to open Crestview League play Thursday, Oct. 19.
“We’re expecting victory, another league championship,” Keefe said. “We’re going to play our game, outwork them, we’re going to do our thing.”
A sloppy first quarter gave way to an explosive second quarter when El Modena got things going with quarterback A.J. Esperanza’s legs.
Esperanza broke off a 30-yard run to start the drive and ran for 55 yards overall on the drive that ended with Andrew Carvajal’s 3-yard run for a touchdown.
El Modena then surprised Foothill with an onside kick, and the Vanguards recovered at the Foothill 48-yard line.
“We were prepared on the film,” Mitchell said. “We saw that the middle guy was kind of leaving early. Our kicker is pretty good at that little squib kick, so we went for it.”
Two plays later, Esperanza hit JP Walker on a 27-yard TD pass for a 14-point lead.
Just 17 seconds after that, Foothill fumbled a toss on their first play. Keefe scooped it up for the easy score and a 21-0 lead.
“I just heard ‘fumble’ on the sideline,” Keefe said, “so I was like, might as well pick it up.”
Keefe also ended Foothill’s next drive as he picked off a pass at midfield and ran it back 50 yards for the…