By Loren Kopff
The dream continues for former Gahr High football stars Dwayne Washington and Josh Perkins as well as ex-Norwalk High standout Elijhaa Penny as those three will continue their careers in the National Football League. By the time the deadline to make the opening day roster came and went last Saturday afternoon, Washington had found himself on the Detroit Lions roster while Perkins was one of the 53 players to make the Atlanta Falcons for the team’s season opener on Sunday.
Washington was selected in the seventh round (the 236th overall pick) this past April and led the Lions in the preseason with 104 rushing yards on 18 carries. He scored twice and also caught one pass for 15 yards. While the Lions don’t have a road game west of Dallas this season, Washington and his new team will host the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 16, a 10:00 a.m. kickoff out here.
Perkins, who was a free agent signee, did not have any official preseason statistics. Perkins and the Falcons will be making four trips to the west this season. Friends and family can travel to Oakland on Sept. 18 for a 1:25 p.m. game, Denver on Oct. 9 for a 2:05 p.m. game, Seattle on Oct. 16 for a 1:25 p.m. game and Los Angeles on Dec. 11 for a 1:25 p.m. game. Both Perkins and Washington played their college ball at the University of Washington.
While Penny, who was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Idaho, didn’t make the opening day roster, he was put on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad this past Sunday. Penny led the Cardinals in the preseason with 195 rushing yards on 49 carries and found the end zone once. He also caught three passes for 19 yards. His big game came against Denver on Sept. 1 when he rushed for a game-high 113 yards on 23 carries with his lone preseason touchdown.
“My emotions are definitely high,” Penny said last Friday night during Norwalk’s home football game against Long Beach Jordan High. “I’m just happy to be able to contribute to such a great team with great players around. I’m just going to cherish the moment and right now just continue to work hard.”
In addition to Penny playing a mere six-hour drive away from the Southland, family and friends can see him in person on New Year’s Day when the Cardinals face the Rams at 1:25 p.m. The Cardinals will also travel to San Francisco on Oct 6 for a 5:25 p.m. start and Seattle on Christmas Eve for a 1:25 p.m. start.
“It’s going to be nice,” Penny said. “It’s definitely going to be like a homecoming-type feel, especially against the Rams.”
In other football action, the first of three ABC Unified School District games takes place tonight when Cerritos High hosts Gahr High in an unusual battle of undefeated teams. The Dons won their season opener last Friday against Bolsa Grande High 16-13 while the Gladiators have won their first two games by a combined score of 80-30. The last time Cerritos began a season with two straight wins was 1999 while Gahr hasn’t opened up 2-0 since 2011 and has not began any season with three straight wins since 1998. In fact, these two city rivals have not met while being undefeated in at least 18 years.
Artesia is also 2-0 following a narrow 7-3 victory over Magnolia High last Friday. The Pioneers will be home to Rosemead High tonight. John Glenn High, which snapped a 16-game losing streak on Aug. 26 with a 31-19 home win against Magnolia, fell to Peninsula High 48-6 last Friday afternoon. The Eagles will travel to Mountain View High tonight. Valley Christian High bounced back from its opening-night rout to Gahr with an emphatic 61-14 win at Bellflower High last Friday night. The Crusaders will host St. Margaret’s High tonight.
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