La Cañada 45, Glendale Bears 13
On a crisp Saturday morning at Occidental College it was a battle of the unbeatens when the 9-0 Gladiators confronted the 8-0-1 Glendale Bears. During the regular season the Gladiators and Bears boasted the two best defenses in the league with the Gladiators allowing only two touchdowns during the regular season and the Bears allowing only four. The Bears defense, however, had trouble from the beginning trying to stop the Gladiator offense, which controlled the entire game, while the La Cañada defense smothered the Bears’ attack. With the 45-13 victory, La Cañada completes a perfect season and is the undisputed champion of Jr. All American.
In the first quarter, the Gladiators took the opening kickoff and drove downfield behind Daylon Beasley. Beasley, who rushed for over 240 yards on the day, capped the drive with a nine yard scoring run and then added the conversion to give the Gladiators a 7-0 lead. On their initial drive, the Bears managed to reach the Gladiator 22-yard line, but defensive standout Jake Fitzgerald had a sack on the Glendale quarterback and they were unable to convert on fourth down. The Gladiators began another drive down the field deep into Bears territory led by Beasley, Chris “the Tank” Marfisi and Andrew Sharman.
On the first play of the second quarter, Matthew Watson went up the middle on a 29-yard run for a score and Beasley added the conversion, 14-0 Gladiators. After again holding the Bears on four downs, Beasley scored on a 54 yard run and then passed to Max Saucedo for the conversion to give the Gladiators a commanding 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Glendale managed to score on its next two possessions to close the gap to 20-13, but the Gladiators regrouped for one last drive in the second quarter with Beasley, Marfisi, and Luca Cuneo grinding out yardage. Beasley scored from one yard out to give La Canada a 27-13 halftime lead.
The second half was all Gladiators. Beasley scored in the third quarter on a three yard run and added another conversion to put La Canada up 34-13. In the fourth quarter Shaman added another score on a 42 yard run to extend the lead to 39-13. Not enough can be said about the play of the offensive line of center CJ Corlett, along with Shepard, Austin Kane, Nathan Wendt, PJ Weinmann, and Jake Fitzgerald who managed to create holes all afternoon in the Bear defense.
The big story of the half, however, was, the Gladiators defense, which allowed Glendale a total of ten yards in the half and forced three turnovers. Brandon Shepard recovered a fumble and Sharman made a great interception to foil two drives. Watson capped off the defensive highlights with an interception in the fourth quarter which he returned 65 yards for La Canada’s final score of the game. The defensive unit of Max Saucedo, Jake Fitzgerald, Jonah Cisneros, Corlett, Charlie Stewart, Caden Smith, Mycha Pasten, Brooklyn Pasten, Watson, PJ Weinmann, Laelan Wright and Sharmen held the Bears in check and had several sacks.
This is La Canada’s 8th Conference Championship in the last 10 years.