By DALE RUHE, Correspondent
LA HABRA — A simple formula of hard work and determination has significantly changed the fortunes of the Sonora football team. Following a 0-10 campaign in 2016, the Raiders have begun the current campaign with three straight victories.
Their latest triumph came Friday night at La Habra High, as Sonora posted a 33-23 victory over Esperanza.
The Raiders compiled 490 yards on offense, led by Thomas Mendrin with 178 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and Chigozie Anusiem, who caught six passes for 105 yards and added two touchdowns.
Morales, in his second year at the helm of the Raiders, said his players are benefiting from the labor they put in during the offseason.
“It’s not a secret formula,” said Morales. “The players have responded and we are looking to continue to challenge our team to do its best every week.”
Esperanza (0-3), which gained 254 yards on offense, held a 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, as Jacob Fruh completed TD passes of 25 yards to Kaipo Garcia and 54 yards to Roshawn Lacey
The Raiders grabbed their first lead of the night, 13-12, four minutes into the second quarter. Anusiem caught a 15-yard scoring strike from Ryan Martinez.
Sonora held the advantage until a 22-yard field goal by Hayden Winters put the Aztecs back in the lead.
The teams exchanged six-point moments, with Mendrin scoring on a 5-yard run and Lacey netting his second score of the game on a 26-yard pass from Fruh.
A 21-yard touchdown from Martinez to Marcos Muro with 11 seconds remaining in the third period put the Raiders into the lead for good.
Mendrin’s 37-yard scamper to the end zone near the midway point of the final period gave Sonora some needed cushion.
The contest saw its share of penalties from the officials. Sonora had 162 yards on 14 infractions, and Esperanza had 124 yards on 10 flags