ANAHEIM >> Loara’s football team knew it had to stop Rialto’s high-powered and high-scoring running game on Friday night in order to win the CIF Southern Section Division 14 final.

Isaac Malaga did his part, making 12 tackles and grabbing a victory-clinching interception with less than a minute left in the game, to lead Loara to a 14-12 victory at Glover Stadium.

It is the first CIF football title for Loara (8-6) since 1979 when it beat Canyon 28-23 in the Southern Division final.

“It was a team effort,”  Malaga said. “Rialto is a pretty good school, but we did our thing and we shut them down. That interception was unbelievable.”

Loara got on the scoreboard first thanks to a 16-yard touchdown pass from Andre Sanchez to Cesar Vasquez. The scoring drive appeared to be stopped at midfield as Loara set up to punt.

Malaga mishandled the snap and had to take off running with the ball, and he gained 13 yards for a first down.

Sanchez threw for another first-half touchdown, a 36-yarder to Jeremiah Adly.

Antoine Fowler led Rialto (7-7) with 148 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns, but several times he was met by Malaga for big tackles.

“We had to slow them down,” Loara coach Lance Neal said. “They were averaging 50 a game in the last two games. We gave them six at the half and that was really good. We gave them six more in the second half and stopped them on both 2-point conversions.

“We played our game and we played it well. Isaac was awesome and Cesar was awesome. Everybody was awesome.”

After getting its first score on a 6-yard run by Fowler, Rialto looked to Fowler for another touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

After failing on their first 2-point conversion try, the Knights went for two again, but Fowler was stopped short of the goal line.

Rialto had one more chance to score, but the drive ended with Malaga’s interception of Daniel Soto’s pass.

Vasquez led Loara with 40 yards on seven carries to go with his 11 tackles, while Sanchez completed 4 of 5 passes for 57 yards and two touchdowns.

Ezra Tafilele rushed for 30 yards on eight carries for the Saxons.

Martin Gonzalez rushed for 35 yards on eight carries for the Knights, who were making their first trip to the CIF finals.

“We definitely didn’t want to lose that way,” Rialto coach Robert Mitchell said. “It was a good experience for our kids, but we hope it is something we can build on.”

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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