Saturday Morning Quarterback: West Covina whacks Bonita in Southeast Showdown; Bishop Amat’s 9-0 start best this century

West Covina 55, Bonita 21 –– No matter which player Bonita High School’s football team was chasing in Friday’s showdown between the top two teams in the CIF-Southeast Division, West Covina’s speedsters were faster to the finish line. Chris Solomon rushed for 190 yards and scored four touchdowns, including a 98-yard kickoff return in the closing seconds to provide the exclamation point to the top-ranked Bulldogs’ 55-21 victory over the undefeated and No. 2 Bearcats. West Covina improved to 7-1 and 4-0, setting up a showdown next week with Diamond Ranch (5-3, 4-0) for sole possession of first place in the Hacienda League. (to continue, click thread)

Friday’s results
Bishop Amat 52, Notre Dame 7 — Rio Ruiz completed 20 straight passes at one point, finishing with five touchdowns and nearly 400 passing yards in the rout. He was 20 of 24 on the night.
Diamond Ranch 48, Los Altos 14 — The Panthers quietly go to 4-0 in the Hacienda just like West Covina, setting up next week’s game for sole possession of first at Ganesha.
Walnut 33, Rowland 28 — The Raiders’ playoff chances are bleak, while another solid win for the Mustangs, who look like they could steal the final playoff spot in the Hacienda.
Arroyo 49, Gabrielino 6 — The Knights continue to cruise in the Mission Valley, setting up an intriguing game with El Monte next.
Rosemead 38, Mountain View 12 — The Panthers needed this to feel good about their playoff hopes and got it.
El Monte 49, South El Monte 13 — The Lions are tied for first with Arroyo at 3-0 heading into next week’s meeting.
La Puente 33, Sierra Vista 21 – The Dons held a 21-20 halftime lead, but the Warriors rallied in the second half.
Workman 41, Duarte 7 — The Lobos took care of the Falcons, who had five players suspended for disciplinary reasons.
Claremont 42, Ayala 13 — Wolfpack closing in on Sierra League title
Charter Oak 31, Damien 17 — The Huskies may have punched their playoff ticket with a win over the Spartans, and can move into sole possession of second with a win over Chino Hills next.
Chino Hills 51, South Hills 14 — The CH Huskies have looked like world beaters since losing to Claremont.
Covina 21, Pomona 14 — This Colts can win the Valle Vista league title outright with a win at San Dimas next.
Baldwin Park 49, Wilson 25 — The Braves keep their playoff hopes alive with a convincing win after last week’s tough loss to Covina.

Bonita dropped to 7-1 and 3-1.

The Bulldogs’ B.J. Lee rushed for 78 yards and scored two touchdowns, including an 85-yard kickoff return, and Anthony Molina made a game-changing interception in the closing seconds of the first half on a pass that could have pulled the Bearcats close, but instead gave the Bulldogs a 27-13 halftime lead.

It was Molina’s seventh interception of the season to rank among Southern Section leaders.

“We knew they would have the fastest backs we would see all year and we let them prove that to us,” Bearcats coach Eric Podley said. “It was poor tackling, poor alignment, not running stunts. When you get 55 scored on you, every mistake you can think of we managed to do it.”

Bonita failed miserably in the red zone, having to settle twice for field goals and then suffering the interception late in the first half.

“You can’t do that against the top team in the division and expect to win,” Podley said. “We knew that going in.”

Bonita quarterback Garrett Pendleton finished with good numbers, throwing for 289 yards and a touchdown, but he was sacked six times, three by Justen Meaders.

“We did our part,” Meaders said of the Bulldogs defense. “Offense wins games but defense wins championships.”

It was Bonita’s defense that entered allowing an average of just 13 points, but West Covina kept Pendleton under pressure all night, and the Bearcats could never generate anything on the ground.

“Our defense worked hard all week and accepted the challenge,” West Covina coach Mike Maggiore said. “There are always things to work on, but I’m pretty happy about tonight. It was a challenge, and we answered it.”

West Covina quarterback George Johnson’s 15-, 20- and 12-yard completions set up Charles Tucker’s 5-yard touchdown

West Covina’s early momentum disappeared when Solomon fumbled a
punt at his own 34. Pendleton took advantage, completing a 32-yard pass over the middle
for Garrett Horine, setting up Giomani Johnson’s two-yard run, tying thescore 7-7.

Pendleton’s 56-yard pass to Austin Venegas at the Bulldogs’ six was wasted, the Bearcats later settling on a Brandt Davis 22-yard field goal and 10-7 lead.

That didn’t last long, Lee returned the kickoff 85 yards for a score and 14-10 lead.
Matt Gelalich nearly answered right back, returning the ensuing kickoff to the Bulldogs’ 22 before being ran down by Gus Vilchis.

That saved a touchdown, the Bearcats unable to cash in again, Davis booting a 27-yard field goal to trim the Bulldogs’ lead to 14-13. After Solomon’s 57-yard touchdown run gave the Bulldogs a 21-13 lead with 9:22 until half, the Bearcats had a chance to draw
close before the break, driving to the Bulldogs’ 22.

But Pendlton’s pass near the goal-line was picked off by Molina, who returned it 98-yards for a score and 27-13 lead with 1:39 to go.

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