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Gauchos score early and often

It was over almost as soon as it had begun.

Casa Grande High School scored on its first play from scrimmage and Windsor never recovered as the Gauchos romped to a 42-7 victory in the second round of the North Coast Section Division II playoffs Saturday night. The victory made the undefeated Gauchos the first Casa team ever to win 12 games in a season, and set up a semifinal game next Saturday night against Montgomery back on the Casa Grande Field. Montgomery defeated Concord, 41-28, in a second-round game Friday night.

Saturday on the Casa turf, the Gauchos forced Windsor into a three-and-punt first possession. On Casa Grande's first offensive play, quarterback JaJuan Lawson faked to running back John Porchivina who was immediately swarmed by a host of Windsor tacklers. But, while the Jaguars were mugging Porchivina, Lawson was sweeping down the left sideline 64 yards for a touchdown.

Casa Grande vs. Windsor Football

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On the Gauchos' next possession, it took them twice as long to score — two plays. The first netted Porchivina four yards into the middle of the line. The second was a little swing pass from Lawson to Porchivina that the senior running back turned into a 74-yard touchdown by the simple procedure of running over a few Jaguars and out running the rest.

Before the first quarter had ended, Lawson had scored again on a 13-yard run and the suspense, but certainly not the action, had been drained from the game.

"That's as good as we've played for four quarters all season. We executed our game play perfectly," said Casa Grande coach Trent Herzog.

While the Casa Grande offense was exploding early, and, as it turned out, often, the Gaucho defense was making life miserable for highly regarded Windsor quarterback Colin McAlvain. With 280-pound Nick Pleinnikul plowing up the middle and linebackers Cody Hughson and Porchivina coming on stunts off the corners, McAlvain spent most of the evening just trying to survive. He was sacked seven times, two each by Pleinnikul and Hughson.

When he did have time to throw, he found Casa defense backs Andre Kupelian, Brad Freitas and Lawson, aided by linebackers Casey Longaker and Miles Gardea either blanketing his receivers or recovering quick enough to make sometimes spectacular pass break ups. Both Kupelian and Freitas had pass interceptions.

Hughson stepped into the offensive spotlight in the second half, twice breaking for touchdowns. The first came on an impressive 25-yard run. The second was a 43-yard blast that went beyond impressive to spectacular. He not only ran over several would-be tacklers, but left three watching in helpless amazement as he zigged while they zagged,

Before it had ended, reserve running back Jason Christianson added a 2-yard touchdown, a score he set up with a 32-yard burst.


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