Azusa 45, Duarte 10 — Azusa running back Desmond Reed sat out the first quarter for missing practice, and with the miscues, bad snaps, flags and everything else that went wrong for the Aztecs, they were disappointed and fortunate to be up by nine at halftime against visiting Duarte on Thursday.
“It was really sloppy,” Aztecs coach Joe Scherf said. “I started yelling at them at halftime to get going. It was one screw-up after the next.”
Once the Aztecs and Reed settled in, though, the Falcons couldn’t keep pace. Reed rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns, and quarterback Jacob Martinez threw for 160 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 92 yards as the Aztecs (3-3, 3-0) extended their Montview League winning streak to 22 with a 45-10 win over the Falcons at Citrus College.
Covina 49, Nogales 14 — Covina High School won its sixth consecutive game and showed why it deserves the No. 2 ranking in the CIF-Southern Section Mid- Valley Division with a 49-14 win over much-improved Nogales on Thursday.
La Puente 59, Ganesha 14 — - It’s only Week 6, but good luck telling that to the young Ganesha players who were in tears after Thursday’s 59-14 loss to La Puente.
Or to Giants running back Aaron Gaulding, who carried the ball three times – all with his right hand, since his left hand was concealed by a bulging cast to protect a broken metacarpal. For Gaulding, it was easier to play injured than to watch from the sideline.
Reed scored on runs of 19, 10, 26 and 27 yards, and did it in three quarters of work.
“He’s a special player,” Scherf said of Reed. “He has tons of moves. He gets in and out and when there’s no hole he finds one. You can’t teach that, it’s a special ability.”
Although Duarte (4-1, 2-1) had started 4-0 and climbed to No. 7 in the Mid-Valley Division rankings, Falcons coach Tip Sanders knew they would have a difficult time against the three-time defending league champs.
“Our day will come,” Sanders said. “We’re young, we have only four seniors and a small offensive line. With the linebackers they have, they can bring the heat. Our guys were lost and didn’t know who to block.”
Azusa took a 7-0 lead after Eric Perez recovered a fumble in the endzone, but Falcons kicker Saul Acosta trimmed it to 7-3 with a 19-yard field goal.
Reed returned and scored on a 19-yard touchdown for a 13-3 lead in the second quarter, but the Falcons didn’t go away, scoring when Richard Bradford recovered a fumble in the endzone to make in 13-10.
It nearly stayed that way until half, but Reed scored again on a 26-yard run, extending the Aztecs’ lead to 19-10 at the break.
“He’s the real deal,” Sanders said of Reed. “There’s not much we could do with him. But again, it was a good learning experience for our guys to play a team like this.”
Azusa, which had lost just one pre-league game in the previous two years and was 10-0 when it lost in the first round of the Mid-Valley Division playoffs last year as the second seed, improved its schedule in hopes of being better prepared for the playoffs.
It resulted in an 0-3 start, losing to Maranatha and San Dimas, currently ranked first, and third respectively.
But now that the Aztecs are back in the Montview, it’s business as usual.
“It was an uncomfortable feeling to be honest with you,” Scherf said of the 0-3 start. “It was growing pains. We’re pretty much a new group and got our butts handed to us, so we’ll see. Hopefully it will pay off down the line.”
Azusa led 25-10 going into the fourth quarter, then scored three quick touchdowns to force a running clock.
Ruben Salas caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Martinez, then Reed scored on a 27-yard touchdown to make it 38-10.
After a Martinez 37-yard pass to Salas to the one, Alex Cota took it from there for a TD, extending the lead to 45-10.
Duarte’s Talik Mason played well, rushing for 77 yards on 12 carries.
For a team that entered the season on a 20-game losing streak and only scored 13 points all of last season, Scherf was impressed with how far Duarte has come.
“They’re going to be pretty good eventually,” Scherf said. “That little back (Mason) is very quick. If they can get that offense rolling, they will score a lot of points. I hope they do well and make the playoffs, it will be good for the Montview League to see Duarte winning again.”
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