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By Loren Kopff
Shortly after Norwalk High sophomore running back Josh Martinez scored on a 34-yard run against city rival John Glenn High, chants of ‘maybe next year’ could be heard cascading from the stands at Excelsior Stadium last Friday night. Those chants pretty much summed up yet another meeting between the cross town rivals as Norwalk blasted Glenn 56-0 to hold onto the Mayor’s Trophy for the 13th consecutive year.
It was the last offensive play of a bruising running attack that racked up 359 yards on the ground against a porous Eagles defense that was shutout for the fourth time this season and wraps up a 0-10 campaign allowing 497 points.
But the one player who stole the spotlight was Norwalk senior running back Kirk Brown, who rushed for a game-high 160 yards on 12 carries and scored five times. It was the first time a Norwalk player had scored five rushing touchdowns in the same game since current San Diego State University standout Rashaad Penny accomplished the feat in a 35-28 playoff victory at John Muir High on Nov. 29, 2013.
“Against John Glenn, I felt I could have had a bigger game than I had tonight,” Brown said. “I felt like, waking up this morning, I would have a four-touchdown game and I told my parents before this game that I would get four touchdowns. That was my goal coming into the game.”
“I knew that he would have more carries but I didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Norwalk first-year head coach Otis Harrison. “What I was hoping to see was a continuation of us getting better each week and I think we saw that with not only him, but other guys.”
Brown scored from two yards out on Norwalk’s second play from scrimmage with 9:32 left in the first quarter. After the Eagles punted for the second straight time, Brown went around the left side for 42 yards and the rout was on just five minutes into the contest.
The Lancers (5-5 overall, 4-2 in the Suburban League) scored on four possessions in the second quarter with Brown finding the end zone three more times on runs of 11, 19 and five yards. The second of those three came two plays after sophomore cornerback Jonathan Tovar picked off Glenn sophomore quarterback Gerardo Godoy.
Sophomore fullback Daniel Faamatau got into the action with 1:22 remaining in the first half when he got loose for a 55-yard scoring run. With the halftime score at 42-0 and the Lancers outgaining the Eagles 235-18 in the first 24 minutes, the entire second half was played under running clock conditions.
“There are two sides to it,” Harrison said of the game. “I can be on the side that never wins or I can be on the side that wins and I’m always going to pick the side that wins. My heart was racing today. My nerves were running just as if [Glenn] was ranked number one or number two in our division. It didn’t make any difference what their record was.”
Brown touched the ball three times in the second half for 47 yards and senior quarterback Ausencio Navarro snuck in from a yard out on the opening drive of the second half. Norwalk would run 10 plays in the second half.
“Coach Otis stresses to me and my dad and all of the coaches at Norwalk stress to me that no matter who our opponent is, to step out on the field and give it your all 100 percent,” Brown said. “Every time I touch the ball, I try to execute the plays that they give me and hit the holes as hard as I can and get in the end zone as much as possible.”
Meanwhile, Glenn’s struggling offense was held in check all night long. Godoy rushed for 25 yards on 14 carries while freshman backup quarterback David Sanchez added another 23 yards on 18 touches. Glenn’s deepest run into Norwalk territory came on the last play of the first quarter when it got to the Norwalk 31-yard line and the Eagles crossed midfield twice in the game.
Last season, the Lancers blasted the Eagles 59-0 for their sixth shutout during this 13-game winning streak. Norwalk has also scored more than 50 points against Glenn six straight times and has outscored the Eagles 573-120 during those 13 games. The loss assured Glenn to finish with its second 0-10 season in the past three years and the Eagles have now lost 23 consecutive on the field league games.
“I know that they’ll be a lot better next year,” Harrison said. “I know coach [Vince] Lobendahn very well; he’s building a great program over there. I’m just trying to be thankful and mindful of not taking anything for granted and really appreciating every win and really acknowledging that’s it’s a big thing to be the city champs.”
“To me, it was really important,” Brown said of beating Glenn again. “I wanted to keep the streak going at least through my senior year.”
The Lancers will now have the tough task of upsetting fourth ranked Burbank-based Burroughs High in tonight’s California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Southeast Division first round road playoff game. The Indians (9-1) enter the contest as the champions of the Pacific League, winners of nine straight, and have scored over 40 points in seven of those victories while yielding 156 points all season.
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