RESURGENT RAMS: Temple City has found itself after going scoreless in the Rams first three games. Staff photo by Sarah Sarah Reingewirtz
By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
It would have been easy for the Temple City High School football team to pout a bit after going scoreless during the first three games of the season.
Instead, the Rams just went back to work, and now they are reaping the rewards.
Temple City, after being outscored, 71-0, to begin the season, has responded with four consecutive victories and finds itself in the Rio Hondo League race.
The Rams host San Marino Friday at 7 p.m. Temple City begins the week ranked No. 10 in the area.
“First off, we just have a bunch of kids who refused to quit,” Temple City coach Mike McFarland said. “They didn’t let a little adversity stop them from working to get better.
“Second, we made a few changes and put kids in a better position. It gave us a little confidence.”
The turnaround started slowly for the Rams. They eked out a 15-14 victory over Hoover, of Glendale, for the first victory on Sept. 13. Temple City, getting solid efforts from running back Nick Starling and quarterback Anthony Valencia, followed it up with wins over Rosemead (20-10), Blair (48-0) and South Pasadena (42-35).
The latter win provided the Rams with a big boost coming into the final three games, and gives them the inside path to a CIF-Southern Section playoff spot.
Temple City, which got 152 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Starling and 74 yards and a score from Chris Reed, rallied back from a 14-point deficit to beat South Pasadena, getting a rare scoring pass from Valencia for the win in overtime.
“No question (that was a confidence-builder),” McFarland said. “We could have flinched. But the kids just kept playing and turned it around.”
Now comes another major task for the Rams in San Marino. The Titans are 7-0 and have won their seven games by an average of 46-8. San Marino is ranked No. 2 in the area and No. 5 in CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division.
“They’re a good football team,” McFarland said. “They’re very well coached and their quarterback (Matt Wofford) is a very good player. They’ve had a good run going back to last season. They’re going to be tough to beat.”
LA SALLE PLAYS FOR FIRST
La Salle’s turnaround from 1-9 to 7-0 with a chance at the Del Rey League title this season can be traced to one trait – hard work.
“Losing nine games last year left a bad taste in our mouth,” said quarterback Austin Wallis, who has been a key for the Lancers, throwing for 981 yards and 13 touchdowns. “We went to the weight room (during the offseason) with that in the back of our mind and we didn’t want it to happen again.”
La Salle, which is 2-0 in the Del Rey League, could get a better feeling Friday at 6 p.m. when it travels to Torrance to face Bishop Montgomery (6-1, 3-0). The winner will have the inside track to the league title.
First-year coach Russell Gordon, who came from Campbell Hall, is a big reason for the turnaround, but he deflects it back to his players, including Wallis and running back Israel Lacy, who has run for 518 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“We’ve just got an explosive offense,” Gordon said. “We’ve got some big-play players. The offensive line is grinding, and our quarterback is doing a great job.
“The bottom line is we’re just executing.”
La Salle is one of four area teams who are playing for first place on Friday.
The others are Muir, which hosts Burbank for first in the Pacific League, and Rio Hondo Prep and Flintridge Prep, who square off at Occidental College for the top spot in the Prep League.