By Brian Baiotto
Heading into Thursday night’s Montview League opener, Gladstone High had been outscored by 101 points and had yet to earn a victory in three tries. But the Gladiators held off a late Ganesha surge to edge the Giants, 9-6, in front of approximately 200 fans at Citrus in a game that had more penalties (23) than points.
Ganesha (1-2-1, 0-1) drove the ball to the Gladiators (1-3, 1-0) 28 yard line with 2:05 left in the game, but the Gladstone defense forced an incompletion and a fumble on consecutive play with heavy pressure on Ganesha quarterback Erik Acevedo and took over on downs. (To continue reading click thread).
Robledo’s Montview League predictions
1. La Puente (3-0) — Will be undefeated when they beat three-time champion Azusa in Week 10.
2. Azusa (0-3) — Coach Joe Scherf has never lost a Montview League game. Aztecs are 19-0 since he took over in 2008, which should stretch to 25-0 when La Puente comes calling.
3. Workman (2-1) — Only two teams are guaranteed playoff spots, but if the Lobos finish 7-3, they have a shot at a wild-card berth.
4. Duarte (2-0) — The surprise of league. We’ll find out how much they improved in league. I like them beating everyone but the top three.
5. Ganesha (1-2) — They beat Montclair and lost to two undefeated teams, so who knows.
6. Gladstone (0-3) — After Azusa, Gladstone has played the toughest non-league schedule, losing to Covina, El Monte and Bosco Tech.
7. Sierra Vista (1-2) — When all is said and done, they won finish at the bottom of the table.
8. Bassett (1-2) — Someone has to be at the bottom of the list.
Gladstone also held Ganesha on a fourth-and-goal play at the 1-yard line late in the first quarter and drove the ball into Giants’ territory.
Christian Guzman turned the defensive effort into three points when he kicked a 39-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to give the Gladiators a 3-0 lead at the half.
Gladstone’s Kevin Amezquita then scored on a quarterback keeper from one yard out on a fourth-and-goal with 7:45 left in the third quarter.
But after a bad snap on the extra point, the Gladiators led 9-0.
Ganesha seemed to sieze the momentum on the ensuing kickoff when Kevin Jones handed the ball off the playmaker Derrick Henderson on a reverse and Henderson took it 85 yards for the score but the Giants missed the extra point and trailed 9-6.
Ganesha got as close as the Gladstone 28 yard line late in the fourth quarter, but were done in by a lack of discipline with 12 penalties and several costly turnovers.
Gladstone’s Moises Ruiz led all rushers with 126 yards on 21 carries.
Amezquita completed 8 of 14 passes for 97 yards, but it was his ability to pick up crucial first downs for Gladstone that were most important on Thursday. He also rushed for 37 yards on five carries.
Emir Guevara and Henderson combined to gain 83 yards on 17 carries for Ganesha.
Acevedo struggled most of the night with pressure in his face and completed just 4 of 9 passes for 39 yards.
Guzman’s field goal ended up being the difference in the game, but he also had a sack of Acevedo and a fumble recovery for Gladstone.
The Giants will look back to several plays where Acevedo and his center had trouble with snaps that took Ganesha out of drives and likely cost it the game.
Gladstone will host La Puente next Friday as league play continues and Ganesha will travel to Duarte.