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Cerritos holds on late for first Suburban League victory in three years

WEEK SEVEN FOOTBALL

By Loren Kopff

First it was learning how to compete, then it was learning how to win. Now, the Cerritos High football team accomplished something it had not done since 2010-win a Suburban League game.

The Dons built a 21-point fourth quarter lead and held on to knock off John Glenn 36-29 last Friday night at Excelsior Stadium, snapping a 16-game league losing streak. The last time Cerritos won in the circuit was Nov. 5, 2010, a 12-7 win over Bellflower. It was also the first road league win since defeating Artesia 27-20 on Oct. 16, 2009.

“The league win means a lot but more importantly today, for sure, is our kids overcame their own mistakes and they didn’t give up,” said Cerritos head coach Darin Owens. “That’s a big part of turning the program around. But to Glenn’s credit, they never gave up and they battled all night long.”

Cerritos scored on its first four drives of the game and with 7:57 left in the contest, had a 36-15 lead following a 43-yard touchdown run from junior quarterback Ki’Jon Washington in which he pushed his way through the middle of his offensive line and the Glenn defense.

But the Eagles responded and after a 3:24 drive, junior quarterback Erick Galindo scored from a yard out. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful but the hosts were back in the game. Following a successful onside recovery, Glenn needed four plays, plus a major penalty on Cerritos, to find the end zone again. Galindo hooked up with senior running back Angel Rochin for 14 yards and after Galindo’s run for the two-point conversion, Glenn was down by one possession with 3:23 left in the game.

However, the Eagles couldn’t recover another onside kick and the Dons held the ball the remainder of the game. It was the second straight game the Eagles made a second half rally. The previous week, Glenn trailed Mayfair 28-0 at the half before falling 30-15.

“That’s how we are; that’s how we’ve played this season so far,” said John Glenn interim head coach Joaquin Aguilar. “Last week was indicative of that. We find our moments and all of a sudden their effort goes up, they show up and they start gaining confidence and making plays.”

Senior running back LaMarr Crowder gave Cerritos (2-5 overall, 1-3 in league) a 14-0 lead with touchdown runs of 46 yards, on an inside reverse in the first quarter, and four yards, early in the second quarter. But Glenn responded with its longest drive of the night, going 80 yards on 19 plays, consuming 6:26 and ending with a Rochin five-yard run. It was the first time since Sept. 13 against Santa Ana Valley that the Eagles had scored in the first half.

But with 8.6 seconds left in the half, the Dons scored their first passing touchdown of the season as Washington found sophomore tight end Brandon Brown for a six-yard play. Washington would also add a five-yard score early in the second half to give Cerritos a 28-7 lead.

But the Eagles (0-7, 0-3) began their comeback almost two minutes following Washington’s touchdown as senior running back Jamal Burns broke loose for a 47-yard score, plus a two-point conversion run from junior running back Dominick Enriquez.

“The bottom line is all night long, the defense struggled,” Owens said of Glenn’s fourth quarter rally. “That’s a tough deal when you’re in that situation.”

Pacing Cerritos as he has done all season was Crowder, who racked up 243 yards on 32 carries. Crowder now has 1,197 yards, which leads the league, and has found the end zone 12 times. Crowder has nearly 100 yards more than Norwalk senior wingback Rashaad Penny.

“LaMarr is an athlete,” Owens said. “He’s a hard worker, runs very hard and is physical. But we couldn’t do it without his [offensive] line. What’s really encouraging and nice is the whole line comes back [next year]. They are growing leaps and bounds. Every game they are getting better and better. So, yes, LaMarr gets the credit; he gets all of the yards, but it’s our line and it’s our backs. It’s a whole team effort.”

Washington added 92 yards on 12 carries and junior running back Kory Boyd pitched in with 38 yards on 12 carries. Defensively, junior linebacker Christian Veazie had five tackles and junior defensive back Ron Reddy had four and a half tackles. Cerritos hosted La Mirada on Oct. 24 and will close out their league schedule on Friday against Mayfair at Ron Yary Stadium on the Bellflower campus.

Glenn was led by Rochin (86 yards, 13 carries) and Enriquez (84 yards, 14 carries) and had 272 yards on the ground. Sophomore linebacker Andrew Castro had a game-high seven and a half tackles while sophomore linebacker Diego Banuelos added five tackles.

“This is their time to shine,” Aguilar said of Rochin and Enriquez. “We basically told them, they’re the guys this year. They need to make the plays and I think they’re rising to the occasion.”

The Eagles will face league leading Norwalk tonight in the next installment of the Mayor’s Cup, the annual tussle between the city of Norwalk schools. Glenn has lost 10 straight to the Lancers.

“I let my coaches know that the team we face next week is not the team we faced this week,” Aguilar said. “They have different guys on their team who do different things and they play their double wing a little bit differently. We’re going to make the adjustments that we need to make. The nice thing about it is we saw [the double wing] today.”

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