RATES RATES   _______________________________________

Socialize

WEEK 10 FOOTBALL Streaks are broken as John Glenn completes book-end season

By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter

When the John Glenn High football team defeated Magnolia High back on Aug. 26, it snapped a 16-game losing streak. The Eagles then proceeded to lose their next eight games before wrapping up the season at Cerritos High.

That’s when the Eagles snapped even a longer losing skid. Behind solid performances from junior running back Carlos Pulido and sophomore quarterback David Sanchez, Glenn crushed the Dons 39-7 last Friday night at Hanford Rants Stadium, ending a 28-game Suburban League on the field losing streak. The last on the field win for the Eagles in league play came on Nov. 4, 2011, a 26-20 home win against Artesia High. Glenn did pick up a forfeit victory against Cerritos the next season.

“When you’re building a program from down in here where we’ve been the last many years, little things help,” said Glenn head coach Vince Lobendahn. “There were a bunch of kids that decided to commit to the 6:00 a.m. workouts, get that extra effort in the passing leagues and just really start to know the offense, and defense. When it started to count, they showed up at periodic times.

“It’s like going in to vote and realizing the onslaught of all the votes are not going to go in your favor,” Lobendahn later said on getting a rare league win. “Maybe there’s a just in the one win. But it’s going to take a few more wins to get me totally to understand what it’s like in the [league]. But that was what was big for us, a [league] opportunity.”

A scoreless first quarter ended when Glenn junior defensive back Gabriel Martinez intercepted Cerritos sophomore backup quarterback Johnathon Cortez at the Glenn four-yard line. It marked the first interception by a Glenn defensive back this season and the second team interception. Two plays into the second quarter, Sanchez scampered for a 57-yard run and following a blocked extra point attempt, the visitors had a 6-0 lead.

Midway through the stanza, another turnover would lead to Sanchez tossing a 59-yard touchdown pass to junior Carlos Manriquez. Two plays later, junior safety Randolph Adams intercepted a Cortez pass and the miscue would lead to another Sanchez to Manriquez scoring connection, this time for 24 yards.

Glenn’s defense would rise to the occasion again as Manriquez picked off Cortez just under three minutes remaining in the half and a Pulido 19-yard score made it 25-0. The Dons would have the ball for close to eight minutes in the second quarter, but ran 19 plays.

Cerritos was already in a big hole before the game began as it was missing two key players-senior offensive lineman and linebacker Sterling Thompson and junior quarterback Colby Nielsen. Both of them were involved in a serious car accident on Oct. 29. Nielsen has some bruised ribs and a fractured nose while Thompson has a concussion and lacerations on his face.

“Not to take anything away from [Glenn], but Colby not being in the game was obviously really huge,” said Cerritos co-head coach Barry Thomas. “They do not quit. I said that specifically about them [in August]. Injuries tonight didn’t help. Sterling Thompson was huge. He had a breakout game last week as far as his physicality and really putting things together.”

To make matters worse, Cerritos senior running back Kaliq Hatcher, who quietly picked up 118 yards on 25 tough carries, didn’t practice all week due to leg injury. Senior lineman Abel Perez, who had 16 tackles the previous week at Bellflower High, was lost in the first quarter to an injury and senior lineman Peter Lee broke his leg later in the game. One bright spot for the Dons was senior defensive end Timothy Merritt, a special needs student, who got some playing time.

But this night was all about the Eagles, who added a touchdown early in the third quarter when Pulido went in from 18 yards, and finished the onslaught on the second play of the fourth quarter when sophomore running back Allen Parrish scored from 12 yards out. Puildo finished with a game-high 160 yards on 18 carries while Sanchez completed six passes for 126 yards with Manriquez catching the two touchdown passes for 83 yards.

“[Cerritos has] been on film watching our inside zones,” Lobendahn said. “So we went base on this game. Base opened up a lot of run opportunities for the running back. Carlos, they were going man press with nobody over the top. So, if you’re going to do that, the tight end is going to be wide open on the seam.

“Then David has just been David throughout this year,” he continued. “I think he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the area and I’m going to build upon that.”

The Eagles have followed a familiar pattern for the past five seasons, going 2-8 in 2012, 2014 and in 2016 while finishing without a win in 2013 and again in 2015. Lobendahn hopes that trend will be broken next season as Glenn will graduate just nine players.

“Last year just hurt in so many ways,” Lobendahn remembered. “We kind of put in the time and it didn’t show up in the win column. It was nice that the win column changed [this year]. But we were interested in making Division 13 playoffs and that isn’t going to happen. So, some of those dreams went away. Yet, we know eventually if we do things right, maybe we can get a shot to get out there and represent the division.”

Meanwhile, Cerritos got on the board with less than two minutes left in the game when Cortez threw an eight-yard pass to senior wide receiver Jordan Farrell. The Dons wrapped up this season at 2-7 and went winless in league for the first time since 2012. In the six league games, the Dons scored 45 points.

“I was proud of our kids for fighting all year long,” Thomas said. “Regardless of what the score was, they came out to play. Regardless of who the opponent was, they came out to play. So I’m proud of that. A lot of coaches around the league were giving us kudos for the things we we’re trying to do on offense. It’s an uphill battle, but I feel our underclassmen are really talented. We relied on them a lot this year.”