There were several monster games tonight. Here are the recaps. Just to give an update, Fullerton-La Habra and Schurr-Bell Gardens missed tonight’s deadline and will be available in print in Sunday’s paper.
La Serna 24, El Rancho 7
PICO RIVERA — Both the La Serna and El Rancho high school football teams need work before next week’s second game of the Del Rio League season.
The difference is that the Lancers (5-1 overall, 1-0 in league)
La Serna survived 125 yards of penalties and two interceptions. No. 4 El Rancho (4-2, 0-1) did not overcome 130 penalty yards, a fumble and an interception.
The Lancers capped their scoring when senior running back Tommy Ruiz (five carries, 76 yards) broke three tackles at the line of scrimmage for a 47-yard touchdown with 2:06 left.
The score was Ruiz’s second and marked the only points of the second half.
The Dons twice had a chance to puncture La Serna’s 10-point, second-half lead but faltered first on a missed 30-yard field goal with 10:38 in the fourth.
El Rancho’s Daniel Moriel later picked off La Serna quarterback Andrew Buenrostro (10 of 20 for 123 yards and two interceptions) for a second time with 4:58 remaining but the Dons stalled at the Lancers’ 30 on fourth-and-12.
Despite falling behind quickly, La Serna rallied
The Lancers took the lead at the 5:40 mark in the second when Ruiz carried up the middle from 7 yards, putting La Serna up 14-7.
La Serna opened at the El Rancho 24 after cornerback Connor Burke picked off a pass at the Dons’ 40 and returned it 16 yards.
After El Rancho stalled on its next possession, primarily because of six penalties, the Lancers took over on their 44 after a punt.
La Serna drove but was denied at the El Rancho 3 with 30 seconds left on a third-and-goal that led to a 30-yard field goal from Tavis Guerra.
The Lancers initially tied the score at 8:35 in the second on a 1-yard touchdown carry by Craig Jones.
El Rancho’s first score came when junior running back Ronnel Lone (11 carries, 56 yards) carried off tackle from 50 yards on the Dons’ first offensive play of the game.
El Rancho’s good field position was set up on an interception by Moriel.
St. Paul 21, Cathedral 14
LOS ANGELES – Michael Ortega’s 24-yard run with 3:03 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game- winner in St. Paul’s Mission League-opening victory over rival Cathedral on Friday night.
St. Paul began the game-winning drive on their own 20 and quickly found itself in a third and long. On the next play, coach Marijon Ancich called a bootleg pass, and quarterback Paul Telles, seeing no open receivers, planted, lost his shoe, then ran 24 yards for a first down.
The Swordsmen (5-1) followed that with three runs and a pass that took them to the Phantoms 24. That was when Ortega took over, breaking three defenders on his way into the end zone.
On the Phantoms’ next possession, the Swordsmen defense stepped up: Jorge Reyes’ sack on third down and interception on fourth down preserved the win for St. Paul.
St. Paul got its first points on an 8-yard pass from Telles to tight end Tyler Carillo with 1:26 left in the second quarter, and the teams were tied 7-7 at halftime.
St. Paul running back David Cabral had 101 yards on 23 carries.
Swordsmen defensive back Anthony Gonzalez knocked down five passes and had an interception, and defensive back Alex Sanchez knocked down three passes.
Schurr 17, Bell Gardens 10
BELL GARDENS – Almost all of the action occurred in the final four minutes of Friday night’s Almont League opener between Bell Gardens and Schurr high schools.
Schurr (3-3 overall, 1-0 in league) overcame 14 penalties to capture a 17-10 victory.
The first half nearly finished scoreless, the only points coming with 21 seconds left when Spartans quarterback Aaron Cantu threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Contreras to put Schurr up 6-0.
After a scoreless third quarter, each team kicked a field goal.
The Lancers got a huge spark when Chris Gutierrez took a Josh Adame pass and ran 48 yards for the touchdown. After the extra point, the Lancers were ahead 10-9 with only 1:58 left.
Cantu then led his team on an 8-play, 81-yard go-ahead drive that ended on his 7-yard touchdown pass to Abraham Gonzalez. The two connected again on the conversion for the night’s final points.
Bell Gardens (3-3, 0-1) had a minute to respond, but Schurr’s defense held strong, recording two sacks to end the game.
Montebello 27, San Gabriel 26
MONTEBELLO – Montebello High School quarterback Fernando Hoffens connected with senior tight end Dylan Gomez on a 3-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds remaining and junior kicker Juan Hernandez kicked the game-winning extra point to clinch the Oilers’ come-from-behind, 27-26 victory over San Gabriel on Friday in the Almont League opener for both schools.
Hoffens ended the night completing 18 of 26 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
San Gabriel (2-4, 0-1) took a 10-6 halftime lead after San Gabriel’s Chris Perez returned a blocked Matadors field goal 20 yards for a touchdown and Gilmar Tenes hit a 41-yard field goal.
San Gabriel stretched the lead to 19-6 in the third quarter after scoring on a safety and quarterback Andy Guerrero’s 1-yard run.
Montebello (2-4, 1-0) stormed back and scored touchdowns on consecutive possessions to take a 20-19 lead. Hoffens first connected with George Romo on a 14-yard scoring pass and Marcus Owens scored on a 2-yard run.
With 2:17 remaining in the game, San Gabriel blocked an Oilers punt and Joey Villalobos recovered the ball and ran 20 yards into the end zone for a 26-20 Matadors lead.
Montebello then started its winning drive from its own 20-yard line. Hoffens capped the seven-play drive by hitting Gomez with the game-winning pass.
San Gabriel quarterback Guerrero finished 11 of 28 for 218 yards and two interceptions.
Pioneer 14, Whitter 0
WHITTIER – Pioneer High School opened Del Rio League play on a winning note Friday night.
Paul Alvarez scored both touchdowns for the host Titans (1-0 league, 4-2 overall), hauling in scoring receptions of 35 and 72 yards. Alvarez finished with five receptions for 168 yards.
Titans running back Tony Botello rushed for 110 yards.
Whittier (0-1, 0-6) had an excellent chance to take a first-quarter lead when the Cardinals recovered a muffed punt by Pioneer at the Titans’ 39. The Pioneer defense responded, however, by stopping the Cardinals on downs at the Titans’ 10.
That set up a 13-play, 90-yard drive that culminated with Daniel Castro’s 35-yard scoring toss to Alvarez.
Whittier once again drove into Pioneer territory, only to be stopped on downs at the Titans’ 28. The Titans took immediate advantage when Eddie Aguirre threw a 72-yard TD pass to Alvarez.
La Habra 44, Fullerton 10
LA HABRA – After a slow start, La Habra High School put together a strong second half en route to a 44-10 victory over Fullerton in a Freeway League football opener Friday night.
The Highlanders (3-3), leading 10-3 in the second quarter, took control when Fullerton running back Troy Pinelo fumbled. The ball was recovered by La Habra’s Ben Sowma with 35 seconds remaining in the first half.
Four plays later, quarterback Cody Clements connected with Mark Yackey for a 6-yard score, giving La Habra a 17-3 halftime lead.
The Indians (2-4) were unable to stop the Highlanders’ passing attack as Clements finished the game 15 of 25 for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Yackey had six receptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns.
Brett Bartolone had five receptions, including one touchdown, for 104 yards and 82 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Cantwell Sacred Heart 33, Bishop Montgomery 30
TORRANCE – After staging an outstanding rally to tie the score, visiting Cantwell Sacred Heart fell to Bishop Montgomery 33-30 on a field goal as time expired in a Del Rey League game Friday night.
The Cardinals (5-1, 1-1) overcame a 30-8 deficit before Jonathan Kim of the Knights (5-2, 3-0) kicked a 31-yard field goal to win it.
Trailing 30-8, Cantwell’s Cory Collins returned a kickoff 92 yards before Jonathan Mesa scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cardinals drove 80 yards in nine plays with Collins scoring on an 8-yard pass from Christian Espinoza to close the gap to 30-23. Key plays on the drive were a 16-yard Espinoza run, a 17-yard pass from Espinoza to Francisco Gutierrez and a 23-yard run by Mesa.
The Cardinals tied the score late in the fourth quarter when an 11-play, 71-yard drive that ended with Mesa’s 2-yard scoring run.
Cantwell took an 8-0 lead on its first possession of the game.
After stopping Bishop Montgomery on downs when linebacker James Becerra made a tackle to prevent a Knights first down, Espinoza passed 17 yards to Jacob Alaniz before throwing a 20-yard touchdown strike to Adam Aguirre.
Becerra’s two-point conversion run made it 8-0.
On the second play following the subsequent kickoff, Knights quarterback Mark Nguyen completed a 71-yard pass to Pierre Wise to cut the deficit to 8-7.
Early in the second quarter, Bishop Montgomery began an 80-yard scoring drive that was capped by Nolan Plummer’s 13-yard run for a 13-8 lead.
The Knights concluded the first-half scoring with Kim’s 34-yard field goal, which concluded a 76-yard drive.
Late in the third quarter, Bishop Montgomery staged a 7-minute drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Plummer to make it 23-8.
The Knights increased their lead to 30-8 on the next play when Plummer scored his third touchdown of the night on a 26-yard interception return.
Whittier Christian 31, Maranatha 24
WHITTIER – There were no thunderclaps, but lightning struck repeatedly Friday night at Whittier College as Whittier Christian High School overcame some first-half doldrums to beat Maranatha, 31-24.
After a first-half that ended tied 14-14, the Heralds (6-1, 1-0 in the Olympic League) and the Minutemen traded punches until the closing moments.
The visiting Minutemen (5-2, 0-1) struck first in the second half, as Andrew Elfers connected with Josh Jones on a 47-yard touchdown pass with just 2:10 gone in the third period.
The momentum seemed to be with Maranatha, which had closed out the first half on another Elfers-to-Jones aerial for 25 yards with no time showing on the clock.
But the Heralds responded by taking the ensuing kickoff and driving 79 yards on just three plays: a 42-yard quarterback keeper by Stephen Anderson, an 18-yard sprint by Grant Escobar and a 19-yard pass from Anderson to Cameron Stanley for the touchdown.
However, Anderson was hurt on the series and didn’t play the rest of the game.
The Minutemen wasted little time in denting the scoreboard again, Matt Marbach nailing a 33-yard field goal to put his squad back on top, 24-21.
Whittier Christian scored the game’s final 10 points, on Escobar’s 5-yard TD dash and a 25-yard field goal by Cameron Esquer.
La Mirada 38, Cerritos 7
CERRITOS – Led by quarterback Shane Blood, La Mirada High School (3-0 in league) remained undefeated in Suburban League play with a 38-7 victory over Cerritos (0-2) on Friday night at Gahr High.
Blood was a one-man wrecking crew, completing 14 of 25 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored one touchdown on the ground, on a 3-yard sneak with 5:13 left in the first quarter to make it 7-0.
With 57 seconds left in the first quarter, Blood found receiver Aaryn Bouzos to make it 14-0. Then he hit Tyler Perez with 11:09 left in the second quarter to give La Mirada a 21-0 lead.
With two minutes left in the first half, Blood guided the Matadores 52 yards to the Cerritos 38, then heaved a pass to wide receiver Shawn Trani to extend the lead to 28-0 with two seconds left in the first half.
The stiff Matadores defense held Cerritos to six yards passing and 188 rushing. It also intercepted Cerritos twice (one each by Bouzos and Bobby Guzman) and recovered two fumbles.
Bouzos led La Mirada in receiving with four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown. Max Gama led the way in rushing with 44 yards on nine carries.
Santa Fe 37, California 2
WHITTIER – Santa Fe High School scored 30 unanswered points in the first half and cruised to victory over California in a Del Rio League opener Friday.
The Chiefs are now 3-3 overall. The Condors are still winless at 0-6.
The Chiefs (1-0 in league) had an explosive first half, scoring 23 of their points in the second quarter.
Chiefs running back Alex Mirola had 10 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns, including a 71-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
Chiefs quarterback Justin Rincon passed for 58 yards, including a 44-yard score to wide receiver Steven Hernandez and a 22-yard touchdown to Joey Davis.
Davis also had a 61-yard reception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Condors’ Maximo Gonzales had a tackle for a safety in the third quarter, giving the Condors their only points.