Duarte preps for showdown against Gladstone

RENEWING THE RIVALRY: The last time Duarte and Gladstone met
with high stakes, the Falcons scored a 34-3 victory. The two resume
that rivarly Friday with first place in the Montview League at state.

By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN
Duarte High School football coach Jason Martin knows all about the warm, fuzzy feelings area fans have for Gladstone coach Albert Sanchez.
The Gladiators (6-0, 3-0 Montview League) are off to their best start in school history in what could be Sanchez’s final year as head coach after 13 years in charge.
But don’t expect the Falcons (4-2, 3-0) to be sentimental when they line up against the Gladiators with sole possession of first place on the line Friday at Citrus College.
Duarte already has crashed one party. It ended Azusa’s 27-game league winning streak by crushing the four-time league champs, 40-14, in the league opener.
Duarte beat Gladstone 17-14 last season, and with a win over Azusa in the bank the Falcons are looking to take another big step toward their first league title since 2006.
“First off, hats off to coach Sanchez and that coaching staff,” Martin said. “Their quarterback (Kevin Amezquita) is a stud, and if you give him a chance to beat you he’s going to beat you.
“What impresses me about them, and this goes back to last year, is their continuity.
“They were a team on the verge last year and you see them putting it all together.”
The Falcons have noticed the Gladiators have started slow in almost all of their games. They’ve come from behind in five of their six wins.
Duarte has been just the opposite in starting fast and finishing slow.
“Finishing games has been a big concern to us, and obviously they’ve shown they’re great finishers,” Martin said. “You always want to jump on top of a team, but regardless of whether you have a lead or you have to come from behind, you need to learn how to finish strong.
“That’s a characteristic that they have that we’re trying to get.”

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