Colts all-everything quarterback Billy Livingston got his bell run on what appeared to be a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit late in the second quarter with a not so comfortable 10-9 lead. Even worse, Livingston was led away by ambulance to a nearby hospital at half for precautionary reasons, the Colts’ chances seemingly going with him. But guess what, the Valley found out who Vinny Vinegas is, the junior running back carrying the Colts in the second half, helping them grind out a 17-9 victory. The Colts’ defense was great too, forcing an early third quarter fumble and posting a second half shutout. These aren’t the finesse Colts we called them earlier in the day, they took the Braves’ best punches and by the end of the third quarter, were returning the punishment with regularity. You have to give the Colts their due now, no team in the Mid-Valley Division can boast a pair of wins the quality of West Covina and Baldwin Park. We called it their coming out party, that’s just what it was. By the way, why helmet-to-helmet hits aren’t illegal in high school football is a thread for another day, there were too many to count. Those there saw it and heard it, I guarantee you that.
By Steve Ramirez, Staff writer
Nobody believed Covina High School was the real deal when it opened the season with a victory over West Covina, considered one of the top teams in the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division.
The doubters likely will believe now.
Vinny Venegas rushed for 118 yards yards and a touchdown and Covina forced three turnovers to take control of the Valle Vista League football race with a 17-9 victory over Baldwin Park on Thursday at Covina District Field.
The Colts improved to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in league.
The win might be costly for Covina. Quarterback Billy Livingston was injured late in the first half and did not return. He complained of a ringing in his ears and was taken to a local hospital as a precaution and later released.
Baldwin Park, which was limited to 86 yards rushing, fell to 2-5 overall and 2-1 in league.
“We had to come out and play, because (Baldwin Park) is a formidable opponent,” Covina coach Darryl Thomas said. “They can run the ball down your throat, so we had to buckle down. We had to play a great football game.
“The ball just bounced our way. We gave them two (interceptions) in the first half, and the ball bounced our way in the second half.”
The Colts also got a break-out effort from Venegas, who sparked the Colts to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter after turning a short pass into an 80-yard catch and run to the Baldwin Park 8. Gevontray Ainsworth scored from five yards out for a 7-0 lead before a Randy Robledo field goal made it 10-0.
Baldwin Park, getting a 1-yard scoring run from Mario Rodriguez in the second quarter, closed to 10-9 in the third quarter after a safety.
But the Colts forced a fumble on the free-kick return, then intercepted Rodriguez with six minutes left.
“They are a good football team,” Baldwin Park coach James Heggins said. “You can’t turn the ball over against good teams. That’s it.”