By Brandon HENSLEY
If you were to view the Rosemont Spartans’ flag football team as a mathematical pattern, you’d predict the team would score eight touchdowns today against the Toll Titans. It only makes sense, seeing as how in each of their first games they’ve doubled their offensive output: one touchdown vs. Roosevelt, two vs. Toll and then four scores last week against Wilson.
The Spartans probably won’t score eight touchdowns today as they take on Toll at Rosemont Middle School at 3:30 p.m., but it’s clear Coach Ryan Dahlstrom’s offense is clicking the way he hoped when he took over the program this winter. Rosemont was not only dominant on offense, but in all phases of the game on Feb. 5 against the Wilson Knights as the team cruised to a 25-0 home victory.
With the win, Rosemont tied Wilson for the division lead with a record of 2-1.
Chase Center and Max Blessinger have split time as quarterback the last two games, both victories. Center threw for two scores, and Blessinger threw for one touchdown and ran for another to account for the scoring.
“Chase had good command over the offense,” Dahlstrom said. “There were a few plays where he misread [coverage], but he had good command, just felt confident, was really at ease. And Max is a great player. They’re going to be splitting time more and more.”
Not that they can’t play at other positions. Center played receiver and his first catch of the season was the Blessinger touchdown pass. Center caught the deep ball then turned on the boosters as he crossed the field and evaded Wilson defenders for the score. Blessinger ran for a TD in the fourth quarter along the far sideline. The point after try was converted to Angel Ochoa, who made an impressive diving catch. It was Rosemont’s first successful PAT of the season.
Center got the scoring started in the first quarter when he found Tyler Carlson in the end zone on fourth-and-goal. Rosemont spread its receivers out wide to make it hard for Wilson to cover everyone, and it was no surprise Carlson caught the pass considering he’s been a favorite target of Center so far this year.
Dahlstrom said a big reason why the offense did well was because of the offensive line. When the Spartans lost to Roosevelt 7-6 in the season opener, they were without eighth-grade lineman Daniel Cho and Jacob Erdmier, who were testing at St. Francis High School. They’re back and making a difference. Credit also goes to assistant coach Davo Hakobyan.
“Coach Davo made a number of different protection moves to be able to protect the quarterback and all the other guys ran the routes they were supposed to run,” Dahlstrom said. “And running back Colby Rees stepped up. He was huge.”
Defensively, the Spartans still have not given up a touchdown all season (Roosevelt’s touchdown was on a punt return). Dahlstrom likes that his linebackers Ochoa and Jason Watson pressure the opposing quarterback, which makes it easier for the defensive backs that guard the wide receivers to make plays. Ochoa had an interception vs. Wilson, as did Blessinger.
“That guy pulls flags like nobody’s business,” Dahlstrom said of Blessinger. “He does great.”
Dahlstrom, an assistant for Crescenta Valley High School’s football program, said he’s still learning how to be a head coach and make proper adjustments. He said he couldn’t find any faults with his team so far, just that he himself has to improve.
“I need to be a little more calm. These guys are doing the best they can,” he said. “I need to get the plays in right and make sure the personnel is in there [correctly], and that’s on me. I think I just get too excited.”
Rosemont’s remaining schedule is as follows:
Feb. 12: vs. Toll, 3:30 p.m.
Feb. 19: vs. Roosevelt, 3:30 p.m.
Feb. 26: @ Wilson, 3:30 p.m.