By Fred J. Robledo
If La Puente High School’s football team is going to give defending Montview League champion Azusa fits during Friday’s showdown between the Mid-Valley Division’s No. 5 Aztecs (4-1, 1-0) and No. 9 Warriors (4-1, 1-0), quarterback Garrett Hrey will probably have some say. Few have experienced the type of roller-coaster career Hrey has gone through. In 2007, Hrey led the Warriors to a dramatic 10-7 victory over Duarte in the Montview finale to clinch the league title.
But the Warriors hit rock bottom in 2008, going 1-9 and losing their final three games by a combined score of 114-12.
Now a senior, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder is using all that experience in leading the Warriors to a quick start, averaging 144 yards a game with six touchdowns.
Talk about peaks and valleys.
“Going through the ups and downs that he went through makes you grow,” Warriors coach Brandon Roher said. “You don’t always get to experience both ends of the spectrum like that. I think it has given him a calmness and confidence that has allowed him and our team to succeed.”
Roher deserves a lot of credit, too. As a first-year coach he let his players know he expected to win right away.
“I told them I didn’t want to wait a year from now, or two years from now,” Roher said. “But I said it would take work, and if they were willing to lift, sacrifice and do all those little things that make teams successful, then they will enjoy success.”
The Warriors have been at their best the past two weeks, beating South El Monte 35-6, and Duarte, 62-3.
“We’re playing well, but everything goes through Azusa,” Roher said. “They’re the defending champs until someone takes it away.”