The La Cañada Gladiators finished their regular-season on Sunday. For the first time in the 47-year history of the organization the Gladiators will be sending three of their tackle teams to playoffs. The Gremlins finish the season with a perfect 7-0 record and will be the top seed in that division. The Junior Pee Wee team finished the regular season with a 4-2 record and will also advance to playoffs in their division. The Midgets finished their season with a record of 6-1 and will advance to playoffs in two weeks.
Although the Junior Gremlin flag team does not keep score, the teams are judged by the officials in sportsmanship and the Gladiator flag team finished first among 50 other flag teams and will participate in a post-season bowl game.
Jr. Gremlin Flag
Teams do not keep score
The Jr. Gremlins faced their toughest competition to date when they lined up Sunday morning at La Canada High School against the El Monte Jets. It was a seesaw battle all day.
The offense had a tough go at it all day as the El Monte defensive line was very aggressive. However, the offense was able to sustain two drives behind their ground attack of Julian Alday and Corey Cheung. After a few halftime adjustments, the offensive line was able to open holes in the middle of the defense. The line of Moises Guiragossian, Nevada Miller, Scott Smith, Shawn Irwin, Reid Matthews, Jackson Radabaugh, and Scott Ernst matched El Monte’s intensity in the second half. Julian used his speed to break a couple of long runs that led to a 30 sprint up the middle by Corey for a touchdown. In the closing minutes of the game, the offense dug down for a long drive that led to another score.
The defense was able to play their attacking style defense all day and held El Monte in check most of the day. Sean Irwin and Jake Arellano seemed to be everywhere pulling multiple flags. Scott Smith had a key interception in the 4th quarter to secure the game.
Next up for the Jr Gremlins is another tough test against Boyle Heights on Saturday afternoon at Boyle Heights.
La Cañada 36, El Monte Jets 0
The Gladiators came into Sunday’s game at La Canada High School with an opportunity to complete an undefeated regular season with a victory against a tough El Monte Jet Team that has given up no more than 13 points in one game thus far.
Gladiators came ready to play with a defense that has allowed one touchdown all season. The defensive unit of Max Saucedo, Jake Fitzgerald, Jonah Cisneros, Cj Corlett, Charlie Stewart, Caden Smith, Mycha Pasten, Daylon Beasley, Matthew Watson, Pj Weinmann, Laelan Wright and Andrew Sharmen held El Monte to zero points in the first half giving the Gladiator’s offense the room necessary to exploit them.
Daylon Beasley lead the way with another 100 plus rushing game while Chris Marfisi and Laelan Wright scoring 2 touchdowns each in the first half. La Canada’s line dominated the game lead by Cj Corlett, Brandon Shepard, Austin Kane, Nathan Wendt, Pj Weinmann and Jake Fitzgerald.
The game was put away early in the 3rd quarter with an interception return for a touchdown by Luca Cuneo.
The Gladiators finished the season in first place in the Arroyo League and will face Pasadena Panthers this Sunday at 9:00 am at John Muir High School in Pasadena.
Jr. Pee Wee
La Cañada 33, El Monte Jets 26
The Junior Pee Wee Gladiators ground out a thrilling 33-26 victory over the El Monte Jets on Sunday, clinching their playoff spot in the process. The back and forth contest was in doubt to the very end, when Colby Rees picked off a potential game tying touchdown at the goal line, with seconds remaining.
Both sides deserve recognition for their competitive spirit and quality of play on this day, as it was the Gladiators making one last big play on a day of big plays to earn the victory.
You could tell something special was cooking from the pre-game warm-ups for this contest. Coaches Rees, Center, Trulik, Ponce, and Griffin had the boys prepared and hungry for victory as the game began. The recipe included a base of blocking from offensive linemen Luc Campanella, Adam Griffin, Talent Finn, Joseph Mecit, and Anton Verheyen. Receivers, Christian Irianto, Pierce Clarkson, and Jordan LeBlanc spiced things up for the main course, a backfield of Chase Center, Colby Rees, and Aaron Garcia.
The Gladiators opened the day’s scoring with Chase Center running for the game’s first touchdown, and also scoring on what would be a critical conversion, giving the Gladiators an early 7-0 lead.
Not to be outdone by this determined start, the defense gave the Jets their just desserts, with sweet play from Marcus Powe, Louie De La Cruz, Jacob Martinez, Lucas Ponce, and Francisco Vazquez, and high calorie execution from Julian Kanach, Dylan Luper, Kilian Trulik, Nathan Martinez, and Noah Langford. The teams traded possessions before the Jets broke through for a touchdown of their own, though a spirited goal line stand on the conversion kept the Gladiators ahead, 7-6, which is how the first quarter ended.
The Jets scored next, but again the bend-but-don’t-break Gladiator defense rose up and stopped another conversion attempt. As the second quarter wound down, Center scored again, and the Gladiators took a 13-12 lead into their well-deserved halftime rest.
The teams then traded scores in an intensely competitive 3rd quarter, with the Jets adding another score, and going back up 19-13, and then the Gladiators storming back with a 10 yard touchdown by Center, carrying tacklers for the last five yards, to take a 20-19 lead.
After a defensive stand, the Gladiators got a score from Center with a conversion from Rees to LeBlanc to push their lead to 27-19, setting the stage for the dramatic fourth quarter finish.
With less than five minutes left, the Jets scored to cut the score to 27-26. The Gladiators took over and mounted their most important drive of the game, scoring on a 34 yard touchdown run by Center to stretch the lead to 33-26. Taking over for one final drive, just a touchdown and conversion point away from tying the game, the Jets marched down the field. It looked like this rugged contest might end in a somewhat deserving tie, but then Rees soared high and came down with the dramatic interception to seal the victory for the Gladiators.
Next up are the playoffs for the Junior Peewees, with Bell Gardens on tap this coming weekend.
La Cañada 28, El Sereno Stallions 28
The Peewee Gladiators had the game of the season Sunday afternoon at La Canada High School against the El Sereno Stallions. The seesaw battle left everyone in the stadium entertained with six lead changes. The game ended in well earned 28-28 tie for both teams.
The Gladiator offense sustained long drives throughout the game led by the blocking of the offensive line of Chuck Meyer, Steven Arellano, Triston Kekahuna, Austin Heberger, Johnny Vasily, Patrick Faulkner, Patrick Mohr, Joey Brunner and Andres Ramirez. Kade Wentz continued his steady play at quarterback with 80+ yards passing and solid execution of the offense. Kevin Parada and Tom McConnell each contributed two touchdowns to the Gladiator scoring. The down field blocking of Devin Matthews, Adam Scannell, Jackson Wendling, Samuel Kunz, and Nicholas Abdalian freed the running backs up to get into the end zone.
The Defense did all it could to corral the Stallions. The defensive line was led by Valentin Nunez, Shane Johnson, Anthony Lozano, Michael Ruf, Carter Link, Milad Lashgari and Gilbert de Cardenas. Hunter Cuneo, Parada and Brendan Pernecky each had touchdown saving tackles that made this defense tough to crack.
On special teams, both Michael Ruf and Andrew Ramirez recovered critical on-side kicks and Tom McConnell added several extra point kicks.
The Gladiators end their season playing at Boyle Heights this coming Saturday.
La Cañada 26, Whittier Redskins 44
As the evening slid onto the La Canada High School Field, the La Canada Junior Midget football team faced a strong Whittier Redskins team. La Canada came out slow in the first half and fell behind by a score of 6 to 22 at halftime. The Redskins were a replacement team for another scheduled team that had to drop out of competition. In the second half La Canada put up a strong fight, and in the third quarter actually made the score 22-20, but Whittier’s offense came alive in the fourth quarter and La Canada still ended up losing 26 to 44. The Gladiators were not able to contain the strong runners of the Whittier team.
For La Canada quarterback Erik Zimmerman led the squad with Kai Aguilar, Greg Dulcich and Elijah Washington being his principal runners and pass recipients; Carson Oakland and Emmett Pernecky were also part of the passing offense. Gladiators scoring touchdowns were Gregory Dulcich and Elijah Washington. Supporting the strong offensive push were Marcelino Martinez, Jason Watson, Daniel Cho, Brandon Torres, Teddy Ibarra, Clayton Esparza, Chris Simonian, Taylor McCubbin and Derek Albanese.
While losing the game the Gladiator defense was strong and lead by awesome team tackling by Mitchell Espinosa, Evan Estrada, Will Stewart, Jack Stellwagen, Clayton Esparza, Ian Goodstein, Daniel Cho, Michael Torres and Chris Wood.
Sideline support was lent by Tyler Shakibai, Braeden Bentzen and Davy Stone.
Next week the Junior Midgets will play their final game in a “Friendship Bowl” against the West Covina Bruins on Saturday in West Covina.
La Cañada 30, Whittier Redskins 6
No report received.