By Richard Hernandez~SGV Tribune
Los Altos’ defense keyed a tough 21-13 football win Friday night over Newport Harbor, forcing two turnovers deep in its own territory, and the Conquerors closed out a successful preseason under first-year coach Hector Spathias with a 4-1 record.
“Our defense came up big with a couple of takeaways,” Spathias said. “That really helped us a lot. We preached that all week, if the teams are even whoever wins the turnover battle is going to win the game.”
The Conquerors will now set their eyes on Hacienda League play where they appear to be the team most likely to compete with favorite Charter Oak. Los Altos will face Walnut on the road next week before facing off with the longtime rival Chargers at home.
“You can’t overlook teams,” said Spathias. “In college or the NFL, you’ll have trap games, we’ll just have to go over there and care care of business against Walnut.”
Los Altos looked like it was going to pull away from the Sailors after Kody Olmos connected with Quinn Peoples down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown and an 18-6 lead on the opening possession of the third quarter.
Newport Harbor clawed back into the game with a 3-yard touchdown reception by Will Harvey, closing the gap to 18-13 with 8:40 left in the fourth quarter.
The Sailors forced a punt and took over at their own 7 with just under five minutes remaining but their drive went nowhere and a poor punt resulted in good field position for the Conquerors, leading to a short field goal by Alexis Medina for a 21-13 lead.
Newport Harbor had a last-ditch effort to tie the game, but a handful of long passes fell incomplete and time expired.
Newport Harbor presented more of a problem for Los Altos than its 0-3 record indicated with the Sailors’ opponents this season combining for a 10-2 overall record.
Los Altos held off a late Sailors’ drive to preserve an 11-6 lead going into halftime.
After a 12-yard reception, Efren Aparicio forced a fumble with a big hit on Jake Bashore and the Conquerors recovered on their own 2-yard line with 16 seconds remaining before the break.
Olmos led the Conquerors offense totaling 226 yards (164 passing and 62 rushing).