By Ted Apodaca
La Quinta High’s football team turned the volume up once again, as the Aztecs rolled to a 56-28 win over Webb School, in the CIF-SS Division 13 playoffs last week at Garden Grove High.
The Aztecs have reached the semifinals for the first time since 1989. La Quinta also won a program-record tying 11th game, improving to 11-1 on the season. Head Coach Andy Diaz told his team that this could be the year they would be a threat in the playoffs; they just needed to qualify.
“To tell these seniors, ‘look this is our year, if we get in the playoffs, I think we can make some noise,’ and I think we’re making noise,” Diaz said.
The Aztecs raised the volume early as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead against Webb. Quarterback Michael Nadeau threw for 218 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Aztec offense. He connected with Dylan Do, Jayelen Walker and Anthony Farley for touchdown strikes.
La Quinta had played Webb earlier in the year and defeated them, 51-14. Nadeau said the offense felt confident they could make plays against the Gauls’ defense.
“I just really had to give my receivers a chance and I just threw the ball up for them,” Nadeau said.
La Quinta had taken a 21-0 lead before Webb answered with two big-play touchdown runs to cut the lead to 21-13. Webb had regained possession and was looking to drive for a potentially tying touchdown. But senior Chris Fields intercepted a pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 28-13.
From there, the Aztec defense clamped down. Diaz said they played more man-to-man coverage with their defensive backs to load up the box and stop the Gauls run attack. The plan worked.
“We have confidence in our secondary, we were like, ‘you guys are going to go man-to-man,’” Diaz said.
Louis Bui had three sacks and eight total tackles to lead the Aztec defense. On offense, Dylan Do had 101 rushing yards and three receptions for 89 yards. Tony Ta had 43 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Nadeau had 38 yards on the ground with two more touchdowns.
La Quinta will play on the road in the semifinals on Friday. They will travel to Silver Valley High, of Yermo. Silver Valley is the No. 2 team out of the Cross Valley League. Silver Valley knocked off second-seeded Nogales last week, 35-29.
“We just have to make sure we’re consistent,” Nadeau said of the semifinal game.