So much for the ranch dressing on the side.
Diamond Ranch High School overcame a sloppy first half and Muir’s frantic attack in the second to come away with a 21-7 win Friday night in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs.
After a resurgent ground attack and an even hungrier appetite to continue its season, the Panthers (5-6) head to the second round and will face South Hills (9-2) at Covina District Field.
The quest to end the season with an exclamation mark came to a screeching halt for Muir (9-2).
The third-seeded Mustangs went down again in the first round. They have failed to go past the first round in recent history.
“They’re a great team,” Diamond Ranch coach Roddy Layton said. “Both coaches after our first game said we’ll face each other. It’s unfortunate we faced each other so early.
“I think they’re one of the elite in our divison and it’s unfortunate they can’t play. But big time players make big time plays in big time games and Brian Spirlin is big time.”
Diamond Ranch pounded the ball on the ground and was led by senior running back
Brian Spirlin, who rushed for 123 yards on 19 carries.
Early game jitters may have gotten the better of both teams as sloppy play in the first half resulted in a low scoring affair.
Among the long list of problems Muir encountered in the first half were its inability to convert on third down and turnovers.
The Mustangs fumbled twice and failed to convert on third down three times.
It proved costly with 2:52 left in the third quarter when Muir gave Diamond Ranch good field position at the Mustangs’ 43.
Chase Price capped a four-play, 43-yard drive by scoring on a 3-yard run with 1:25 left in the half to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.
Diamond Ranch also turned the ball over twice and twice failed to convert on third down.
But the difference was the Mustangs failing to capitalize on those mistakes while the Panthers pounced on Muir’s failed attempts.
It was a bad night for the Mustangs’ offense, which was virtually non-existent.
Muir quarterback Jarron Williams was pestered nearly the entire game by the Panthers’ defense. He completed 13 of 28 passes for 167 yards and an interception.
Williams put Muir on the scoreboard with an 8-yard run with 4:58 left in the fourth quarter.
But by then, Diamond Ranch led 21-7 after Amari Staten capped a 14-play, 85-yard drive on a 3-yard run with 4:51 left in the third quarter.
Muir could not convert on fourth and 17 at the Mustangs’ 36, another opportunity the Panthers capitalized on.
Spirlin capped a two-play, 36-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown run with 5:56 left in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Muir’s on-side kick with 4:58 left was recovered by Marcus Graves to keep its season on life support, but to no avail.
Reuben Thomas had some long-yardage plays, but for the most part was kept in check at running back. He lined up at quarterback on one series, but Muir went nowhere on three incompletions.
“It hurts, it hurts big time,” Mustangs coach Ken Howard. “The kids did everything they could do to win the football game. We didn’t underestimate (Diamond Ranch), that’s for sure.”
FRIDAY’S RESULTS WITH COMMENTS
Diamond Ranch 21, Muir 7 — I could not believe the kind of low class Pasadena fans showed at the Muir game. Unbelievable. Despicable. Totally uncalled for. No reason for them to do that. How did Muir security not throw them out of the game? Perhaps they weren’t in their right to do so but I would have at least tried. It was tough interviewing Howard at the end. I could detect his pain. You could hear it in his voice. With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, some fan yelled at me from the stands. “Hey, Mr. Melendez” he yelled but I couldn’t exactly hear what he said. At least I know someone is reading my stuff, 3,400 a day to be exact. Chris Dulap is a warrior. Dude hurt his right hand. It was wrapped with ice in the first half but played much of the second. Wish he’d been healthy so we could really see what he’s truly capable of doing. I couldn’t tell what there was more in Friday night’s game: penalties/turnovers or fans on Muir’s stands.
Temple City 7, Arroyo 6 — A win is a win, right?
Monrovia 34, El Monte 7 — Wildcats defense played tough the entire game. Marquise Williams was a force on offense without the ball and with the ball. A lot of fake handoffs allowed for others to be utilized effectively. Williams rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns. DJ Cole, Kendal Boggs and Nick Bueno fueled the victory. Maddox, however, was unhappy with amount of penalties, specifically holding penalties.
Rosemead 45, Valley Christian 14 — This was a no-brainer. Ready for next week’s blockbuster showdown next week vs. San Dimas?
Paraclete 42, San Marino 14 — This was tough for me to pick because I saw it coming. No Steven Wright meant no balanced offense. Paraclete’s tough nonleague schedule paid off.
La Serna 42, San Gabriel 14 — Where to begin …
Quartz Hill 30, St. Francis 17 — Golden Knights were outscored 23-0 in the half and squandered a 17-7 lead at the half. Too many costly penalties and turnovers in the second half led to St. Francis’ demise.
Maranatha 16, Ontario Christian 3 — Matt Schilz did not have a great game. He completed 20 of 43 attempts for 264 yards, one TD but had two costly interceptions in the red zone. Junior running back Daniel Kopplin had 17 carries for 117 yards. Schilz and Kopplin combined for 381 yards on offense and mustered only 16 points. Yikes! What is up with that?!?!
Rio Hondo Prep 48, St. Anthony 14 — Kares continue to get the job done. I can easily see Rio Hondo Prep as one of only two area teams (Rosemead) who might come away with a CIF title.
Duarte at L.A. Baptist, 1 p.m. — Melendez (Duarte)
Flintridge Prep at Riverside Christian, 12 p.m. — Melendez (Riverside Christian)