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High School Football:
Triton Ends Season With Tough Loss To Highland

Thursday, November 23, 2000

By Bob Wankel
SJSports Student Correspondent

On a cold and blustery Thanksgiving Day, the Triton Mustangs hosted the Tartans of Highland High School. When these two teams meet, stats don't mean a thing and the records can be thrown out. Dennis Vespe's Mustangs were looking to extend their winning streak against Highland to five games, but the Tartans behind star running back Ayo Saba were looking to start a streak of their own.

The Mustangs looked sharp early on as they stuffed 254 pound Saba for no gain or a loss on his first four carries. Highland was attacked by a swarming Mustang Defense as Lafayette Crawford was pressured into throwing an interception right into the hands on Bill Grinovics. Highland's defense was also in the Triton backfield early and often as both offensives were colder than the below freezing temperatures.

Led by Brian Yackle, the Mustang offense came around in the second quarter. They moved the ball down to the Highland 25 yard-line and looked like they were on their way to the game's opening score. However, things were quickly thrown in reverse when the ball was fumbled and Highland's Luis Maldonado played Johnny on the spot. Maldonado picked up the loose ball and dashed 75 yards down the field to put the Tartans up 6-0. Meanwhile, the Mustangs defense was still holding well against Saba and the Tartan offense, but then things changed. Saba, after being held to nothing, broke free of Triton defenders and took it 80 yards to the house to put Highland up 12-0. At the half, Highland led a game that should have been in favor of Triton by the score of 12-0.

In the second half, missed oppurtunities haunted Triton. They moved the ball with ease, but any time they got into the red zone the drive was haulted. The defense did it's part as Saba was quieted and Lafayette Crawford couldn't find a reciever. However, Highland's defense answered every call of Triton's in the second half. Yackle and the Mustangs had a first and goal from the 8, but were unable to put it in the endzone.

This was a game that really could have went either way,but big plays were the difference and Highland made the big plays at the right time and as a result they won the Turkey Day matchup by the final of 12-0. Highland put an end to the four game winless streak against Triton as they evened their record to 5-5 to close the season. The Mustangs with a bounce or two that would have went their way could have finished at the five hundred mark, but instead they finish out the season at 2-8.

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