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Crusaders crush East Union
Modesto Christian running back Andre Edwards takes on an East Union tackler. - photo by CHRIS LEONARD/

Modesto Christian can do plenty with what little it has.

The 20-man squad ran just 21 plays in the first half and scored five touchdowns before coasting to a 45-0 victory on East Union’s homecoming night Friday.

“They’re very good,” East Union coach Willie Herrera said. “Too many mistakes on our end, but I’m not taking anything away from any of them. They may have 20 guys but you play with about 20 guys anyway. They came out (and) they executed and did what they needed to do.”

The Crusaders (3-1), winners of three straight after a season-opening loss to Bay Area juggernaut Cardinal Newman, were led by the shifty Anthony Brooks and punishing Andre Edwards.

Brooks completed 3 of 7 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown while rushing 11 times for 145 yards and three scores. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Edwards bulldozed his way to 129 yards and three TDs on just 12 carries. All of Edwards’ touchdown scampers came in the first half, when he had 122 yards on six attempts.

Modesto Christian had piled up 321 yards of offense by halftime. East Union (1-2) could only muster 79. The Crusaders were ahead 25-0 before EU recorded its first first-down play on Jose Maltez’s 10-yard run with 7:40 left in the second quarter.

“We prepared hard for this all week,” Brooks said. “They said they wanted to play us for homecoming and we took that as a challenge.”

The Lancers had a chance to weather the onslaught early. With MC ahead 12-0, East Union defensive end Clay Cuneo stripped Conner Dowd of the ball and was taken down on the Crusaders’ 35-yard line.

Illegal-block and procedure penalties halted EU’s momentum, which was forced to punt from its own 47.

“We didn’t execute,” Herrera said. “We weren’t going to get out of who we are. We’re not going to hit the panic button and throw the ball 30 times in a game.

“People are going to ask why not — that’s not us. We are going to run the ball. Two weeks in a row it worked. Today, (Modesto Christian) did what they had to do. We’ll look at the film and see what we need to improve on.”

East Union quarterback Isaiah Gordon completed one of his three passes for 6 yards. Jose Maltez handled the load for the offense, running 16 times for 76 yards. The Lancers were held to 143 yards from scrimmage. They were without the services of Victor Lopez (285 rushing yards, 3 TDs), their top offensive producer. He was sidelined with an unspecified injury.

“He’s been dealing with some stuff physically,” Herrera said. “We thought it was better for him to rest this week. We’d rather have him ready to go against Oakdale.

“It obviously helps having him in. He’s a two-way starter and he gets it done, but it’s next man in. It gave someone else an opportunity.”

East Union kicks off Valley Oak League play next week with defending champion Oakdale. It will be its fourth straight home game to start the season.