By Vincent PAGE, intern
On Sunday, Sept. 27, the La Cañada Gladiators Junior Midget (second-highest division) football team took on the Lincoln Heights Tigers and showed true potential for greatness in the 48-0 victory. The team’s defense did not just stop Lincoln Heights from scoring, but contributed on the offensive as well.
The game started at 3 p.m., and was over quickly as the team reached the mercy rule with over nine minutes left on the clock. The game began as both teams’ captains walked out to midfield to shake hands and flip the coin. La Cañada’s captains were Angel Ochoa, Chase Center, Colby Rees, and Aaron Garcia.
The Gladiators received the ball, taking it to the opponents’ 50-yard line by Zeal Shumate. On the first play from scrimmage, Rees took it to the house on a run up the middle, making it 6-0 Gladiators after a shanked extra point attempt.
The defense put on a clinic in the first half, not allowing a single first down. The squad forced punt after punt, allowing the offense to get the ball with good field position all game long. The team took advantage of that, as they took their second drive of the game and scored quickly as Ocoha threw a 67-yard pass to Bryson Reeves, who used his breakaway speed to fly by the Tigers defenders extending the lead to 12-0.
As the game continued it was more of the same shutdown defense, rarely allowing a positive play and forcing punts. The defense was led by No. 10, who was all over the field throughout the game. It seemed special teams were about to get in on the scoring fun when Garcia returned a punt for a touchdown, but there was no such luck as a holding call brought the ball back. Nevertheless, a seven-yard run by Shumate, followed by a successful two-point conversion, increased the lead even further, as it was then 20-0. The rout was on for the Gladiators.
The rest of the game was highlighted by a few noteworthy plays, when No. 7 fumbled a snap missing the handoff, only to pick the ball up, scramble for what seemed like hours, and finally turned the ball upfield as he ran for a 70-yard touchdown to guarantee that the lead undoubtedly belonged to the Gladiators.
The defense also got some of its own, after doing the dirty work for the first half of the game. Two consecutive interceptions were returned for touchdowns. The first one by Reeves, a 47-yarder, making the lead 42-0. The second pick-six was returned by Ochoa, finalizing the score at 48-0 and bringing the youth football mercy rule into effect. Both teams, notably Lincoln Heights, seemed full of good spirits after the game, showing everyone that football is still just a game, and is meant to be fun for everyone.
All Gladiators teams take on the hard-playing Pasadena Panthers teams Saturday at Muir High School.
JR. GREMLIN FLAG
La Cañada Gladiators vs. Lincoln Heights Tigers
Teams do not keep score
La Cañada 26, Lincoln Heights 0
La Cañada 46, Lincoln Heights 0
La Cañada 48, Lincoln Heights Tigers 0
Photos by Hannah KINYON
Contributors are Paul D. Fitzgerald, Bruce Millstein, Chad Runnels, and Tony Ponce.
Photos by Hannah Kinyon
JR. GREMLIN FLAG
La Gladiators v. Lincoln Heights Tigers
(Teams do not keep Score)
The Gladiators tamed the Tigers Sunday morning at La Cañada High School. The Junior Gremlins dominated the visiting Tigers of Lincoln Heights from the opening drive to the final whistle. The offensive line of Gunnar Herman, Phoenix Vengco, Derek Flores, Timothy Runnels, and Jade Fernandez paved the way for three rushing touchdowns. Quarterback J.J. Runnels managed an impressive rushing offense handing the ball off to the talented backfield tandem of Liam Pasten and Andrew Sibbrell. Sibbrell was the first Gladiator to hit pay dirt when he broke off a forty yard run that left the Tiger defense all over the field. Zeke Rodriguez kept the train rollin’ with a thirty yard scamper of his own. Not to be outdone Matthew Merrill then joined the touchdown club when he busted through the defensive line and ran thirty yards for the third Gladiator rushing touchdown of the day.
The stingy defensive line of Joseph Padilla, Jonathan Grant, Adrian Garcia, and Jade Fernandez didn’t give up a single first down all game. The defensive secondary of Izaac Rodriguez, Sonny Garcia, and Aaron Matthews locked down the Lincoln receivers all afternoon and with the help of outstanding linebacker play from Carter Freeman and Alec Heberger the defensive unit pitched their first shutout of the year. Not only did the defensive unit keep the Tigers offense caged up all morning, they even got a little offensive themselves when Heberger picked off a Lincoln pass at midfield and ran it all the way back for a score.
It was a great game all around for Coach Austin Heberger’s team and staff. Follow us to Pasadena this Saturday at 10am where the Gladiators will battle the Pasadena Panthers in what is sure to be another amazing performance.
La Cañada 26, Lincoln Heights 0
The La Cañada Gladiator Gremlins improved their record to 3-0 with a 26-0 victory over the Lincon Heights Tigers last Sunday at La Cañada High School. So far this season the Gladiator offense has scored 80 points while the defense has allowed a total of six points in twelve quarters of football. Currently, the Gladiators share a first place tie with the Rosemead Rebels.
The Gladiators scored midway through the first quarter when quarterback Jacob Calnon ran for a 66-yard touchdown. Calnon went 4-for-6 on the day, passing for 49 yards and two touchdowns. The Gremlins halted Lincoln Heights’ only serious offensive threat late in the quarter when a diving Niko Anderson stopped a Tigers’ touchdown after catching the runner from behind.
La Cañada started the second quarter with an impressive red-zone stance. The Gremlins’ defensive line led by Hudson Stimmler, Moises Guiragossian, Frank Higginbotham, Izziah Alzaga and Calnon sternly squelched any hopes the Tigers had of putting points on the board. Immediately after the turnover on downs, Corey Cheung – who rushed for 115 yards on the day – ran for an 89-yard touchdown. Guiragossian’s gutsy conversion run up the middle put the Gremlins ahead 13-0. After a quick 4 and out by the Gladiator defense, La Cañada had another successful drive with Calnon completing passes to Maththew Kurkdjian, Guiragossian and then Anderson for the 12-yard touchdown. At the half the Gladiators were up 19-0.
The second half witnessed more of the Gremlins’ crippling defensive play. Gladiator linebackers and backs Shawn Irwin, Nevada Miller, Harrison Schloessmann, Kurkdjian, Cheung, Smith and Anderson gave up only one first down conversion for the duration of the game. Calnon’s 13-yard touchdown completion to Nevada Miller sealed the Tigers’ fate and established the Gremlins as having a capable air-attack. Corey Cheung ran in the conversion. Gladiator tight ends Maddox Freeman, Miller and Smith combined with the offensive line of Jordyn Delgado, Thomas Sorensen, Luke Cullen, Stimmler and Alzaga, cleared the way all day for the Gremlin’s 201 total rushing yards.
Fourth quarter highlights included a Luke Cullen fumble recovery, and the hard-hitting Thomas Sorensen causing a second fumble in the backfield, which was recovered by Miller, giving La Cañada final possession and allowing Calnon to take a knee. La Cañada’s defense, bolstered by the determination of David O’Connor, Flynn Millstein, Sebastian Pascuzzo and Colin Massey gave up only 8 positive rushing yards all day. Calnon and Smith led the team in tackles with 5 each.
The Gladiators will travel to John Muir High School next Saturday to take on the winless Pasadena Panthers.
La Cañada 46 Lincoln Heights 0
On Sunday afternoon at La Cañada High School the La Cañada Gladiator Pee Wee team improved to 3-0 on the season with a drubbing of the visiting Lincoln Heights Tigers 46-0. The officials stopped the game in the fourth quarter under the Jr. All American “Mercy Rule” as the score was so lopsided. So far this season, the high powered Pee Wees have scored 105 points while not allowing a single score in any of the first three games.
Gladiator James Warner took the opening kick-off fifty yards down to Tigers’ thirty-yard line. On the next play, Sebastian Deleon went thirty yards to score a touchdown giving the Gladiators an early 6-0 lead. On Lincoln Heights opening possession Gladiator Jonathan Martin intercepted an errant Tiger pass, giving La Cañada possession on their own thirty-five yard line. Demarcus Caruana ran for a Gladiator touchdown, but it was called back due to a penalty. The run still gave the Gladiators a twenty yard gain giving them the ball just inside Tiger territory. On the following play, Pierce Clarkson went off right tackle for a forty-five yard score giving the Gladiators a 14-0 lead following Mycah Pasten’s conversion. On Lincoln Heights’ next possession they moved the ball outside their thirty when Jake Fitzgerald stripped the ball and caused a fumble that Daylon Beasley scooped-up and scampered into the end zone. Mycah Pasten’s successful conversion completed the first quarter scoring with the Gladiators up 22-0.
After the Gladiator defense again stopped the Tigers, Dayton Beasley took a fifty-two yard hand off for another Gladiator touchdown and the rout was on at 28-0. Lincoln Heights took over and moved the ball inside of La Cañada territory, but the La Cañada defense stepped up which included a play from Brandon Shepherd knocking down a pass. Once again Beasley made a big play by intercepting a pass and thwarting Lincoln Heights drive. La Cañada took over on their own twenty and quarterback Sam Faulkner threw a perfect pass to a streaking Jake Fitzgerald who took it eighty yards for another Gladiator touchdown. This made the score 34-0 to close out the first half.
The second half was much like the first as Beasley scored his third touchdown in a row with another fifty-two yard run putting La Cañada up 40-0. Other notable Gladiator plays included a Leland Lieberg fumble recovery and a Christopher Marfisi fifteen yard run to end the third quarter.
The fourth quarter included a thirty-three yard touchdown run by James Warner, putting La Cañada up 46-0 and ending the scoring on this hot Sunday in September. Under the rules of Junior All-American Football, the game was halted due to the lopsided score.
The offensive/defensive line of Reese Jackson, Miguel Sanchez III, Jonah Cisneros, Brandon Shepherd, Matthew Watson, Jake Okland, Luke Waters and Charles Stewart are to be commended for their hardnosed play on both sides of the ball. Wide receivers and defensive backs Andrew Sharman, Laelen Wright, Dexter Matthews, and Mycah Pasten also played great.
After bagging the Tigers, the Gladiator Pee Wee team will venture into Pasadena country for their toughest test yet when they face the Panthers this Saturday, October 3 at 2:00 p.m. at John Muir High School.