PAYDIRT!: Temple City scored its first victory of the season Thursday, defeating host Hoover, 15-14.
Staff photo by Sarah Reingewirtz
Temple City 15, Hoover 14
By Keith Lair, SGVN
GLENDALE - The streaks have ended.
Temple City High’s three-game scoreless drought and the Rams’ three-game losing streak were put to rest Thursday night in a 15-14 victory over Hoover at Glendale High’s Moyse Field.
The Rams bombarded coach Mike McFarland with a near-gang pile when the clock expired after Temple City successfully converted on fourth down to end the game. The Rams converted twice on fourth down in the final three minutes.
“Every week we look at those championship banners and the past success and we all feel that, gosh, we can do better,” McFarland said. “It would be really easy for them to quit. But not these guys. We have 30 kids that have been through a lot of losing and have never ever, ever quit and stopped working to get better. It’s a credit to the heart of our players.
“Its an unbelievable release. The last two years, it’s been a struggle.”
Temple City’s Diego Areola scored the winning touchdown on a 7-yard run to cap the opening drive of the second half to give the Rams a 15-12 lead. The drive was kept alive by a fourth-down penalty against Hoover.
Temple City (1-3) had endured a 13-quarter scoreless drought, but ended that 2 minutes and 53 seconds into the second quarter when Chris Reed scored from the 1-yard line.
The victory was only the Rams’ third in their past 16 games. They ended the 2010 season 1-2 and started the 2011 season 0-9 before defeating Blair in their season finale.
“I’ve been at a lot places where, by this time of the year with that start and lack of success, teams have folded up the tent,” McFarland said. “These kids are unbelievable.”
It took a little bit of luck and big defensive efforts for the Rams to put it all behind them.
Temple City failed to score from the 1 as time expired to end the first half. The Rams had a snap go over punter Anthony Valenzuela’s head. Valenzuela took two steps back to step out of the end zone for a safety.
After Reed’s touchdown, a poor snap to holder Valenzuela on the PAT attempt resulted in a pass to Dareece Spratt, but he scored to make it 8-0. A fumbled exchange led to the Tornadoes’ second touchdown for a 12-8 Glendale lead in the second quarter.
But then there the big plays, too. Nick Stark, who rushed for 106 yards on 24 carries, kept the Hoover offense off the field in the waning seconds when he took two pitchouts up the middle for two yards each on fourth-down situations.
“Without a doubt in my mind,” the junior said of successfully converting the plays.
McFarland said going for it on fourth down was one of the easiest calls he made in the game.
“I looked the kids in the eye and said, `If we get two (yards), we walk off and get on the bus,’ ” he said. “There were a lot of other calls that I would say were tougher. In that situation I said, `You want to win? Here it is.’ I could go by the books or the hearts. In that situation I looked into the hearts of the kids.”
Hoover’s Brendon Kerr missed two PAT attempts. The consequences were that it allowed Valenzuela the luxury of stepping out of bounds when that punt attempt snap went over his head.