La Cañada Gladiators

Jr. Pee Wee – Semi-final Playoffs

Walnut Valley 13 – La Cañada 0


On Sunday, Nov. 12 at Covina District Field in Covina, the La Cañada Gladiator Junior Pee Wee football team was eliminated from playoffs in the semi-finals 13-0. The Gladiators fell in a hard-fought battle with the unbeaten Walnut Valley Cowboys.

Both teams entered the game as their respective league champions and with impressive defenses, each team having secured six shutouts. Predictably, the game developed into a defensive struggle in the first half. La Cañada received the opening kickoff and managed just two yards in its first possession, though punter Dominick Cozza had a spectacular punt that pinned the Cowboys on their own 19-yard line to start their first possession. Walnut Valley’s offense fared somewhat better and put together a nine-play drive until the Gladiator defense stiffened at midfield, forcing the Cowboys to punt.

The La Cañada defense was again led by starting middle linebackers Nevada Miller and Scottie Smith; defensive linemen Ricky Guerrero, Jaiden Espadas, Cozza, Luke Cullen; defensive ends David Mysza and Thomas Sorensen; and defensive backs Michael Liggins, Wyatt Becker, Calix Jamerson, Levi Griffin, Izziah Alzaga and Jake Arellano. Together they held the Cowboys’ potent offense scoreless in the first half. Unfortunately, the Gladiator offense struggled as well, suffering two fumbles in the second quarter that ended promising drives. The teams entered the locker room in a 0-0 deadlock at halftime.

Walnut Valley struck first when they scored on a 59-yard draw play on the second play of their opening second half drive. Miller stuffed the extra point to keep the game close at 6-0. The Gladiators then responded on offense with their best drive of the game. Quarterback Mysza threw two passes to wideout Liggins and scrambled for another first down to guide the La Cañada offense into Walnut Valley territory. The Gladiator offensive line of Zarate, Cozza, Cullen, Sorensen, Guerrero and tight ends Smith and Miller protected Mysza well on the drive. La Cañada, as they had done all season long, then swapped in quarterback Wyatt Becker who tried to complete the drive, but the Gladiators stalled out as two passes fell incomplete. Becker then was stopped on a scramble four yards short of a first down on the Cowboy’s 30-yard line.

Walnut Valley took over on downs and then executed a clock chewing 10-play, 70-yard drive that consumed the remainder of the third quarter. Walnut Valley scored again to go up 13-0 at the start of the fourth quarter.

La Cañada’s offense tried valiantly to stage a comeback, but were stymied by the stingy Walnut Valley defense. Running backs Will Nyhan, Teddy Gocke and Nathan Hovestreydt, tight ends Jason Nelson, Sebastian Pascuzzo and Timmy O’Brien, and offensive linemen Sedrik Jimenez, Gray Cucullu, Julian Vartanian, David O’Connor, Arman Deravakian, David Galaviz and Joe Martinez fought hard and pressed the Cowboys, but could not score.

Time ran out on the Gladiators as they could not put together a consistent drive. The Cowboys prevailed 13-0 and will move on to the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 19. La Cañada finished the season with a record of 8-2 and took solace in repeating as the Baseline League champions.

The team also earned the team scholar award as the Junior Pee Wee team with the highest GPA in the San Gabriel Valley Junior All American conference.


Jr. Midgets – Quarterfinal Playoffs

La Cañada 48 – Covina Vikings 6


The La Cañada Gladiator Jr. Midget team remained undefeated by beating the Covina Vikings 48-6 at District Field in Covina on Sunday afternoon. 

Next Sunday at Walnut High School, the Gladiators will face the unbeaten Pico Rivera Dons for the conference championship.