OKA, LOYOLA MAKE LATE RUN IN WIN BACKUP RUSHES FOR 101 OF 111 YARDS IN SECOND-HALF RALLY LOYOLA 44, ANTELOPE VALLEY 29.
LANCASTER - As bad starts to a game go, it couldn't have been much worse for the Loyola High of Los Angeles football team. The Cubs hadn't even recorded a first down before they found themselves down by 16 points in the second quarter Friday night against Antelope Valley of Lancaster.
There were turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble), mistakes on defense that led to big plays for A.V. and penalties that almost made the field seem like it was dyed yellow.
Fortunately, Loyola had exactly the right player to turn to in the second half.
Russell Oka is used to challenges. When you're a 5-foot-3 running back for a one of the best Southern Section Division I teams, it's a fairly safe assumption not much has come easy.
Oka helped the Cubs dig out of a huge hole, rushing for 101 of his game-high 111 yards and two touchdowns in the second half to lead Loyola to a dramatic 44-29 victory over the host Antelopes.
``Isn't he something?'' Loyola coach Jeff Kearin said of Oka. ``When I got the job last year, all everyone was talking about was him. He'll shake you out of your shorts and break your ankles. You pretty much just call a play for him and sit back and enjoy watching it.''
Oka normally shares time with Chad Peppars in the backfield, but Peppars suffered a concussion in the first half and had to leave the game. He was taken to Antelope Valley Hospital for observation. Peppars ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries before the injury.
That left Oka as the Cubs only back and he filled the role perfectly.
``When I'm on the field, I feel like I'm the same size as everyone else,'' he said. ``I don't think about my size.''
Antelope Valley (2-2) stayed with the Cubs (4-0) even as they rallied, but came unglued after sophomore quarterback Ronaiah Tuiasosopo left the game with a possible concussion midway through the fourth quarter.
``That hurt a lot,'' said Antelope Valley receiver/defensive back D'Andre Goodwin. ``We couldn't move the ball at all after that.''
Goodwin, a transfer from Sylmar, was one of many bright spots for A.V. on Friday. He intercepted two passes and caught two touchdown passes. Goodwin finished with three receptions for 123 yards.
Ramona Shelburne, (818) 713-3617
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2005|
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