Saturday Morning Quarterback: Covina, West Covina and San Dimas dance to the semifinals; Arroyo and Azusa’s dream season ends; Charter Oak goes down hard at Upland

Highlights from La Serna’s win over Los Altos with TDro

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Charter Oak’s first big test against a CIF-Southern Section Inland Division powerhouse ended with third-seed Upland showing the Chargers they’re not ready for prime time.
Charter Oak, which rolled through opponents and averaged 50 points since a September loss to Rancho Cucamonga, wore down against the Highlanders’ defense, and could not slow their offense. The Highlanders stepped on the gas in the third quarter to go up 38 points, forcing a running clock in the fourth. (to continue click thread)

Tonight’s results
Inland Division

Upland 51, Charter Oak 13 — They were unfortunate to be down 21-6 at the break after moving up and down the field and coming away with nothing but field goals. The second half Upland overpowered them and Kenny Lawler showed why he’s so good.
Southeast Division
West Covina 55, Pasadena 12 — It’s going to take a team playing out of its mind to beat these guys. They have the unstoppable combination of they’re good, and they know they’re good.
La Mirada 31, Arcadia 28 — There goes the dream West Covina-Arcadia matchup.
La Serna 35, Los Altos 30 — There goes the dream Los Altos-Muir matchup.
Muir 48, Diamond Ranch 0 — The at-large Mustangs have been just as dominating if not more than No. 1 West Covina.

Mid-Valley Division
Covina 49, Alhambra 7 — Did I hear that right, Venegas with six touchdowns? It was the first game in the refrigerator on Coveritlive, setting up the game everyone wants next.
Monrovia 61, Whittier Christian 7 — Are you kidding? I don’t care if Covina won by 42, this was a statement. I felt good about picking the Colts prior to the playoffs, I’m not so sure now.
San Dimas 30, Azusa 23 — I got caught up in the Azusa nostalgia after watching that video like everyone else. But give credit to the Saints, it’s not easy beating a good team twice, and now they have to do it again.
San Gabriel 40, Arroyo 38 — The Knights fell agonizingly short of reaching the semifinals, but they went down swinging, and all-everything Steven Rivera will go down as one of the all-time best. Now San Gabriel gets its shot at San Dimas-San Gabriel II.


When it was over, Upland quarterback Nate Romine, receiver Kenny
Lawler and running back Donta Abron Jr., were too much, leading Upland to a 51-13 rout over Charter Oak in the second round of the Inland Division playoffs on Friday, advancing the Highlanders to next week’s semifinals against second seed Vista Murrieta.

Romine, who threw all three of his touchdown passes to Lawler, finished with 292 yards passing and Abron Jr., scored four touchdowns and rushed for 191 yards on 32 carries as the Highlanders remained undefeated, improving to 12-0. Lawler, who verbaled to Arizona State, had five receptions for 196 yards to go with his three TDs. Charter Oak, which finishes 10-2, had trouble in the red zone in the first half and were thoroughly beaten in the second.

Santiago finished with 291 yards and a TD pass, and Kurt Scoby had a decent night, rushing for 125 yards, but the Chargers couldn’t get in the endzone until the final moments.

“It wasn’t so much a difficult task, they’re a very good football team and we were not not lucky enough tonight.” Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar said. “We’ve never been in the red zone that many times and not scored. We shot ourselves in the foot.

“Some nights the football Gods aren’t going to let the ball bounce your way. But give them credit, they had a better team tonight than we did. What are you going to do? When you have young kids in a big ballgame, bad things happen.”

Upland started with good field position, blocking Charter Oak’s punt after the Chargers went three-and-out on its opening possession, recovering it at the Chargers’ 13.

It didn’t take long to cash it in. After a couple runs, Abron Jr. scored on a one-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0.

After Charter Oak’s Jack Schneider missed a 39-yard field goal, Upland came right back.
Romine connected on a 30-yard pass to Lawler to the Chargers’ 30, and three plays later, Abron Jr., scored on a 20-yard run up the middle to extend the Highlanders’ lead to 14-0 with 4:37 left in thefirst quarter.

Charter ruined an impressive drive and the chance to cut the lead in half when Santiago was sacked on third and goal from the six. But the Chargers didn’t come away empty handed. Schneider booted a 35-yard field goal as time expired to end the first quarter, trimming the Highlanders’ lead to 14-3.

Charter Oak wasted another opportunity in the red zone, failing to score after driving to the 7. After Santiago’s third-down pass was incomplete, Schneider booted a 24-yard field goal cut the Highlanders’ lead to 14-6 with 2:24 until half.

The Chargers had another chance to get in the endzone before the half, but couldn’t capitalize in the final two minutes.

After the Chargers’ Jonathan Thropay picked Romine at their own 47 with 1:44 left, Santiago gave it right back, throwing an INT to Upland’s Delvin Batiste, who returned it to the Highlanders’ own45 with 1:31 left.

After a couple runs, Romine let it fly down the right side and Lawler made a circus catch over a defender and scored for a 43-yard reception with 37 seconds left in the half — a back-breaker for the Chargers that left them trailing 21-6 at the break.

Pinned on the one after a punt, the Chargers’ Scoby couldn’t get out of the endzone, taken down for a safety to extend the Highlanders’ lead to 23-6 midway through the third quarter.

After getting it back on the ensuing punt, Upland connected on its first pass, a Romine to Lawler 48-yard touchdown pass play to move ahead 30-6 with 5:50 left in third and the rout was on.

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