Contributors are: Paul D. Fitzgerald, Bruce Millstein, Chad Runnels, and Tony Ponce. Photos by Tony Ponce.
JR. GREMLIN FLAG
La Cañada Gladiators v. Bell Garden Lancers
(Teams do not keep score)
The Jr. Gremlin Gladiators faced off against the Lancers of Bell Gardens this past Saturday at La Cañada High School. The Gladiators opened up the scoring with a touchdown pass from Liam Pasten to Alec Heberger who stood tall behind the outstanding offensive line of Jade Fernandez, Phoenix Vengco, Derek Flores, Ezekiel Rodriguez, and Matthew Merrill.
The Lancers found it tough to move the ball against the La Cañada defensive front, led by the interior push of tackles Gunnar Herman and Zeke Rodriguez, and the containment of ends Timothy and J.J. Runnels.
Andrew Sibbrell found his way to the end zone once again this week with a little help from Pasten on a thirty yard reverse play. Bell Gardens pulled from their bag of tricks on multiple occasions, but the Gladiators were not fooled. The Lancers first tried the quarterback “fake walk and talk” to the coach on the sideline play, only to be sacked for a five yard loss. They next attempted the “they all fall down” play, only to have the pass play broken up by corner Aaron Matthews and Linebacker Carter Freeman. Finally the Lancers attempted a “Statue of Liberty” play only to have it busted up in the backfield by the entire Gladiator defensive. The defense proved solid again this week forcing four punts which were handled perfectly by the dynamic punt return duo of Sonny and Izaac Rodriguez, still no relation.
A great effort was given by all in the possible penultimate game of the season. Join us at 9:30 this Saturday at Jess Gonzalez field in Rosemead as La Cañada takes on the Rosemead Rebels.
La Cañada 7, Bell Gardens 13
In a battle of first-place teams in the Arroyo League, the La Cañada Gladiator Gremlins dropped to a season record of 4-2 after losing a hard-fought battle to the Bell Gardens Lancers 13-7 last Saturday at La Cañada High School.
La Cañada started the game with an excellent defensive stand. The Gladiators defensive line led by Frank Higginbotham, Izziah Alzaga, Jacob Calnon, Hudson Stimmler, Moises Guiragossian and Joshua Byer along with linebackers Joseph De La Cruz, Scott Smith, Nevada Miller, Corey Cheung, Thomas Sorensen and safeties Shawn Irwin and Niko Anderson forced Bell Gardens to turn the ball over on downs during the Lancers’ first possession. La Cañada’s first offensive drive included rushes by Anderson, Cheung and Calnon but the team could not capitalize. The first quarter ended with a Lancer touchdown to lead 6-0. Bell Gardens was denied the conversion when the Gladiators stuffed the run up the middle.
The second quarter saw both teams repeatedly exchange possession as neither offense could sustain a drive. Higginbotham and Calnon, leading the Gladiators with 5 tackles each, displayed good defensive prowess holding the Lancers from any substantial offensive gains. Higginbotham had a brilliant defensive play, stripping the ball from the Lancers and allowing the Gladiators to recover. The half slowed to an end with Bell Gardens committing 4 of their 16 game total penalties, and no change in the one-score game.
Bell Gardens added another score in the third quarter to lead 13-0. La Cañada responded with a long drive of its own. The Gladiator offensive line of Luke Cullen, Jordyn Delgado, Stimmler, Byer and Sorensen, along with tight ends Miller and Smith held the left side open for an 11-yard Calnon touchdown run. Calnon, who also scored the conversion, had 84 rushing yards on the day. The Gladiators, now within one score of a tied game, had momentum. LC’s next drive included a Corey Cheung 12-yard run and 12-yard reception from quarterback Scott Smith, but the Gladiators again could not cash in.
La Cañada fought hard all game. Miller, De La Cruz, Smith and Sorensen amassed 4 tackles each. Irwin, Alzaga and Guiragossian each had 3 tackles. David O’Connor, Sebastian Pascuzzo, Harrison Schloessman, Colin Massey, Maddox Freeman and Flynn Millstein all competed respectfully. The Gladiators had an exciting 9-play drive with less than two-minutes on the clock, but could not covert on their final 4th down.
The Gladiators will travel to the Jess Gonzalez Sports Complex next Sunday to take on the Rosemead Rebels.
La Cañada 32, West Covina 0
A well-prepared and focused La Cañada Pee Wee team rolled into West Covina on Saturday where they dominated on both sides of the ball in a 32-0 pounding of the home team Bruins. The ground and air attacks were consistent all game long made possible by the wall-like protection from the Gladiators solid offensive line. Running back Daylon Beasley lit up the turf with three rushing touchdowns and Sebastian Deleon followed with two more of his own.
The Gladiators received the opening kickoff and methodically marched down the field led by the rushing efforts of Beasley and Andrew Sharman. Sharman’s 11-yard sweep on 4th and 7 kept the drive alive which led to a Beasley score followed by a 2-point conversion kick by surefooted Micah Paston. A West Covina four-and-out resulted in a botched punt snap downed on the Bruin 20 yard line. On the next play, Beasley weaved through traffic and glided into the end zone making the score 12-0. The Bruins next offensive play was an errant pass intercepted by Sharman who ran it back for 20 yards the other way. The end of the first quarter saw an 11-yard Micah Paston reception from quarterback Sam Faulkner as well as a 20 yard Patrick Weinmann catch that put the Gladiators on the one yard line. Beasley ran it in for the TD through a hole hammered out by the bruising fullback Matthew Watson making it 20-0.
The Bruins offensive output in the second quarter was limited to a string of small gains thanks to the swarming defense and tackling of Max Saucedo, Sebastian Deleon, Jake Fitzgerald, Miguel Sanchez, Jonah Cisneros, Demarcus Caruana, Miguel Sanchez, and Lelan Wright. The La Cañada offense capped off the half with a spectacular leaping grab on the 2-yard line by the double-covered Weinmann followed by Sebastian Deleon’s first running score of the day making it 26-0.
Throughout the second half, the West Covina offense was repeatedly dispatched to the sidelines to watch the Gladiator offensive line carve out running lanes as well as provide the dangerously accurate Faulkner plenty of time to find his targets. Strong offensive line performers included Brandon Shepherd, Aiden Garcia, Charles Stewart, and Jake Okland. Other highlights included a fumble recovery by Chris Marfisi and Sebastian Deleon’s five solo tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Deleon’s final TD came late in the third quarter on a fourth down scamper up the middle making the final score 32-0.
The Gladiators next opponent is an away game against Rosemead Rebels this Sunday, at Jess Gonzalez Field in Rosemead.
La Cañada Gladiators 7, Bell Gardens 34
The Gladiators fell to 4-2 Saturday with a 35-7 loss at La Cañada High School on Saturday afternoon to the undefeated Bell Gardens Lancers. The Gladiators had their chances, and the game was far closer than the final score would indicate, but La Cañada had a rash of uncharacteristic turnovers that marred an otherwise valiant performance.
The first half was a hard fought contest with the Gladiator offense dominating most of the game. Angel Ochoa took the opening kickoff and returned it to the 44 yard line. Ochoa and Chase Center and Zeal Shumate alternated in carrying the ball behind the offensive linemen Kilian Trulik, Valentin Nunez, Duncan Sprengal, Charles Meyer, Jack Modrejewski, Adam Griffin, and Jacob Zabala. After driving inside the Lancers’ ten yard line, the Gladiators fumbled. After the defense held, La Cañada took over at their 33 yard line. Four plays later the Gladiators stunned the first place Lancers with a 44 yard flea flicker. Center took a pitch from Ochoa and fired a long distance strike to Bryson Reeves, who made a spectacular catch in traffic and then trotted into the end-zone. Maximus Grant nailed the extra point and the Gladiators closed the first quarter with a 7-0 lead.
The Gladiator defense were led by Mher Baranian, Max Herman, Lucas Ponce, Kyle Lewin, Lucas Simblet, Henry Whitford, Aaron Garcia, Efrem Rivera, Ryan Villalobos, Luc Campanella, Jason Contreras, Joshua Kibler, and Jaydon Sein. In the first half the powerful Lancer attack was blunted by La Cañada.
The second quarter started with the Lancers striking back for a touchdown, but with Reeves stuffing a two point conversion attempt, preserving the Gladiator lead 7-6. The Gladiator offense sputtered on their next drive, and the Lancers responded with a long touchdown drive at the end of the half. The Gladiators again stuffed the point after, and the half ended with the Gladiators within striking distance, but trailing 12-7.
The Lancers took the opening kickoff of the second half and mounted a determined drive against an equaling determined defense. Ponce, Center, Griffin and Herman broke through for big tackles, and the Lancers had to fight for every yard. The drive took all but a minute of the third quarter, but eventually culminated with the Lancers taking an 18-7 lead. A sudden turnover led to a Bell Gardens defensive touchdown as the quarter closed, with the Gladiators trailing 26-7.
The Gladiators were down as the fourth quarter began, but they did not give up. They fought the fourth quarter to a draw, giving up points only on the game’s last play, when Bell Gardens through a pass instead of kneeling down.
The Junior Midgets will regroup and travel to Glendora next Sunday at Jess Gonzalez field in Rosemead.