JR. GREMLIN FLAG
La Cañada Gladiators v. Hacienda Heights Cougars
No Game Played.
La Cañada 26 Boyle Heights Wolfpack 30
For three quarters the La Cañada Gladiators Gremlin team played their best game of the season, leading the undefeated Boyle Heights Wolfpack by 14 points as the fourth quarter started. Unfortunately that lead slipped away and the Gladiators fell 30-26 to the Wolfpack in their quarter-final playoff game at Charter Oak High School on Sunday November 8th, 2015.
La Cañada took the opening kickoff and drove 63 yards down the field with a 16 play drive that consumed the entire first quarter. Corey Cheung, Joseph De La Cruz, Niko Anderson and Jacob Calnon alternated running through holes opened by the Gladiators’ offensive line of Luke Cullen, Hudson Stimmler, Jordyn Delgado, Josh Byer, Thomas Sorensen, and tight ends Nevada Miller and Scott Smith. The drive was capped by a 13 yard run up the middle for a touchdown by De La Cruz, who broke several tackles to get into the end zone. Quarterback Jacob Calnon scored the conversion to put the Gladiators up 7-0.
Calnon then executed a perfect onside kick and La Cañada recovered at the Boyle Heights 49 yard line. The Gladiator offense took the field and used their ground and pound running attack to again push Boyle Heights backwards. Runs by Cheung and Calnon drove Boyle Heights back to their own 28 yard line where the drive stalled with a Gladiator fumble. Boyle Heights quickly capitalized and scored on the the next play.
Moises Guiragossian stopped the Boyle Heights conversion attempt when he tackled the Wolfpack fullback a yard short of the goal line.
After Boyle Heights kicked off, La Cañada executed another flawless offensive drive, marching 50 yards in seven plays for another Gladiator touchdown. La Cañada scored when Calnon, lined up as a running back, threw a 24 yard halfback pass to Cheung for a touchdown. Though they missed the point-after-touchdown, but had seized the lead 13-6. The Gladiators then recovered their second onside kick of the day and resumed their attack on the reeling Wolfpack defense. La Cañada drove 51 yards, the drive highlighted by a 26 yard run by Cheung, and ended by a 15 yard pass from Calnon to tight end Scottie Smith for a touchdown. After Calnon converted La Cañada was up 20-6 going into the half.
The Boyle Heights Wolfpack regrouped at half time and Boyle Heights tok the opening kickoff and drove for another score to cut the lead to 20-12. La Cañada and Boyle Heights traded the next two possessions on tough defensive stands by both teams. La Cañada’s defense was led by linebackers Miller, De La Cruz, Cheung and Sorensen, and defensive linemen Izziah Alzaga, Frank Higginbotham, Calnon, Smith, Jaymes Hale, Harrison Schloessman, and David O’Connor. Safety Shawn Irwin also played a solid game stopping several Wolfpack runs.
After a change of possession on loss of downs, La Cañada took over the ball on their own 48 yard line at the end of the third quarter and again marched down the field and went up 26 to 12 when quarterback Scottie Smith converted on a 1 yard quarterback sneak. After three quarters the Gladiators still maintained a 14-point lead.
But the Gladiators could not contain the Boyle Heights’ offense ignited their high octane offense. The Wolfpack managed to score twice in the fourth quarter to take the lead 30-26 with less than two minutes to go in the game. La Cañada mounted one last drive to try to regain the lead, but two penalties and an interception ended the effort. Collin Massey, Sebastian Pascuzzo, Maddox Freeman, and Matthew Kurkdjian contributed to the La Cañada effort, which kept them within reach until the final play. La Cañada finished the season with a 6 and 3 record.
La Cañada 30, Rosemead Rebels 0
On Saturday afternoon, at Wilson High School in El Sereno, the La Cañada Gladiators Pee Wee team were dominant in their first round playoff game, with their seventh shutout of the season, in defeating the Rosemead Rebels 30-0. The Gladiators are now 9-0.
The La Cañada Gladiators kicked off to start the game. On Rosemead’s first play from scrimmage Chris Marfisi recovered a fumble on Rosemead’s 45 yard line. Unfortunately, the Gladiators fumbled on the drive and Rosemead recovered the football on their own 31 yard line. Rosemead was unable to move the ball, and on fourth and six, Gladiator Jake Fitzgerald stormed into the backfield that grabbed the hand off intended for the Rosemead back and rumbled to the Rebel 21 yard line. Three plays later Daylon Beasley scored on a 14 yard touchdown. Micah Pasten kicked the extra point and that gave the Gladiators an early 8-0 lead. Rosemead was unable to move the ball and was forced to punt. La Cañada took over on their own 37. Gladiator Fitzgerald caught a ten yard pass from Sam Faulkner and Daylon Beasley ran the ball down to the Rosemead 37 as the first quarter came to an end.
In the second quarter the Gladiators fell victim to penalties, as many of their drives stalled. Late in the half, the Gladiators mounted a long penalty-free drive. On the first play, after taking over, Beasley ran for 44 yards to the Rebels 21 yard line. Four plays later Beasley punched it in and gave La Cañada a 14-0 lead with under a minute until halftime. Rosemead was unable to move and making the halftime score 14 to 0.
La Cañada started the third quarter with the ball on their 25 yard line. The Gladiators moved the ball with hard runs by Andrew Sharman and Beasley capped the drive with a 50 yard touchdown. The extra point was good and the Gladiators were up 22-0. From mid-field, Rosemead moved the ball for the first time in the game, despite the great tackle by Alec Sanchez-Nigolian. The Rebels moved to the Gladiators 27 yard line. However, as they have all season the Gladiator defense stepped up with huge quarterback sack by Sebastian Deleon and Demarcus Caruana for a 13 yard loss. Fitzgerald, who had a dominating defensive game, added to the Rebels’ woes with another sack. La Cañada took over on their own 27, and after another penalty, Patrick Weinmann caught a Faulkner spiral and ran for 35 yards. Sebastian Deleon took a hand-off for 37 yards, and the Gladiators had the ball on Rosemead’s 25 yard line as the third quarter ended.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Victor Guiragossian ran for 14 yards down to the Rebel 11 yard line. Matthew Watson then had a great 11 yard run for a score. Facing a 30-0 deficit. Rosemead took over at mid-field. Rosemead moved the ball all the way down the field and had the ball on La Cañada’s nine yard line with a first and goal, but the Gladiator defense prevailed as the Rebels failed to convert a fourth and five. Shortly, thereafter, the game ended with a 30-0 Gladiator victory.
The La Cañada Gladiator Pee Wee team next takes their undefeated record against the West Covina Bruins in El Monte on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. in an elimination playoff game, with the winner playing for the league championship.
La Cañada Gladiators 16, Bell Gardens Lancers 30
The La Cañada Gladiator Junior Midgets ended their winning season with a hard fought playoff loss to the Bell Gardens Lancers, 20-16 on Saturday afternoon in Glendora. Easily the most electrifying game of the year, both teams battled until the final minute, with the final result in doubt until the very end.
The Gladiators started strong and fast. From their own 23 yard line, quarterback Chase Center scrambled for 40-yards. Two plays later, the Gladiator offensive line, stalwarts all season, gave Center a perfect pocket as he dropped back to pass and he found Bryson Reeves who hauled in the pass, shook off a few defenders of his own, and rolled into the end zone for a quick strike touchdown. The play was keyed by great protection, which the Gladiator offense enjoyed all year, from offensive linemen Duncan Sprengal, Kilian Trulik, Chuck Meyer, Eugene Shin, Jack Modrzejewski, Adam Griffin, and Jacob Zabala. A little razzle dazzle followed the touchdown, when a fake kick turned into a two-point conversion, and the Gladiators led 8-0, just two minutes into the game.
Energized defensive play, including key tackles from Max Herman, resulted in a successful goal line stand on the Lancers first drive. The Gladiators took over on downs at their own five yard line. The tough Lancer defense forced the Gladiators to a quick three and out, and Bell Gardens took advantage of a short field for a score of their own as the quarter wound down. On the Lancers’ two-point conversion attempt, the Gladiator defensive front line of Lucas Simblet, Henry Whitford, Mher Baranian, and Kyle Lewin rose up and stopped the Lancers. The quarter ended with the score La Cañada 8 and Bell Gardens 6.
The Gladiators continued their strong defensive play into the second quarter, giving up a few yards, but stuffing the Lancers on each of their three possessions. The Gladiator linebackers and defensive backs came up big during this stretch, as the frustrated Lancers took to the air. Defensive backs Ryan Villalobos, Colby Rees, Zeal Shumate, and Efrem Rivera, all contributed big plays to frustrate the powerhouse Lancer attack. The half ended with the Gladiators still holding their 8-6 lead.
Disaster struck like lightening for the Gladiators in the third quarter, as two quick scores and a goal line stand had the Gladiators facing playoff elimination as the fourth quarter started. Trailing 20-8, the Gladiators stayed focused and mounted a fierce comeback. Quarterback Center took to the air, and the offensive line again gave him time. Center selected between Gladiator receivers Aaron Garcia, Luc Campanella, Jason Contreras, and Josh Kibler.
The Lancers then drove down to the Gladiator one yard line with just six minutes left. There was no quit in the Gladiators as the defense stopped the Lancers on four consecutive plays. From their one yard line, Center scrambled in the end zone and hit Angel Ochoa for a short 10-yard gain, but Ochoa refused to go down and soared down the sideline for a 99-yard touchdown. Another two-point conversion then cut the lead to 20-16 with five minutes left.
An onside kicked just missed, and with the clock running down, the Gladiator defense needed yet another stop. All knew that the order was tall, as the Bell Gardens offense was strong, and the Gladiators were playing without key stalwarts Lucas Ponce, Max Grant, Valentin Nunez, Jaydon Sein, and Sam Galeano. The Lancer fans sensed victory, but the Gladiators weren’t ready for defeat. Center, Rees, Simblet, and Herman all made big stops and forced a quick and unlikely punt.
The Gladiators took over at their own ten yard line with two minutes left and a chance for a late afternoon upset. The dusty field was torn up from the battle and the crowd roared. The Gladiators began driving, and Bell Gardens dug in their heels, hoping they could hang on. In the end, the clock finally ran out on the scrappy Gladiators. The final was 20-16.