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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW: Valley Christian football continues alternating blowout games, gets crushed by longtime rival

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

On at least two different occasions, Bill Garner, Valley Christian High’s first-year head football coach, has been quoted as saying he is not looking to blow out anyone and he is not looking to get blown out. But through the first five weeks of the season, the Defenders have been on both sides of lopsided games.

V.C. began the season with a 41-point loss followed by a 35-point win, a 17-point loss and a 43-point win. Last Friday night at Valley Christian Stadium, the Defenders met longtime rival Ontario Christian High and the result was the same as the first and third games. Three first half turnovers and a lack of running game turned into a 54-14 loss to the Knights.

On the third play of the game, V.C. senior quarterback Brayden Garner was picked off by Alvis Nuno and the turnover led to Ontario Christian’s first touchdown with 7:59 left in the first quarter. Then on the third play of V.C.’s next drive, a fumble at the host’s 17-yard line led to a nine-yard touchdown run from Daniel Serna. V.C. ran nine plays in the opening quarter, gaining zero yards.

In the second quarter, V.C. put together its longest drive of the game, only to see it stall following consecutive quarterback sacks. Meanwhile, the Knights added a pair of touchdowns in a span of 24 seconds to go up 27-0. Brayden Garner got the hosts on the board when he ran 76 yards to the five-yard line, then picked up two and three yards respectively. 

After a late touchdown to close out the first half, Ontario Christian needed 10 plays to score three third quarter touchdowns. With the running clock being used in the fourth quarter, the Defenders got a two-yard score from sophomore running back Carson Slager late in the game. Brayden Garner picked up 104 yards on five carries while Slager got all 26 of his yards on six touches in the fourth quarter. Besides the 76-yard run by Brayden Garner, two other rushes went for double figures and the team gained 118 yards on 23 carries. Brayden Garner and sophomore quarterback Colin Abrahams combined to complete nine of 15 passes for 61 yards. Defensively, senior linebacker Jarvis Hudnall had eight tackles while Brayden Garner added four tackles. V.C. will be tested once again tonight when it travels to Pasadena to face La Salle High. The Lancers have won all four of their games and have scored at least 38 points in each of their games. La Salle is led by Richard Munoz, a freshman quarterback who has thrown for 963 yards and 14 touchdowns opposite two interceptions. Cesar Gudino leads the rushing attack with 193 yards on 32 touches with six touchdowns while Timothy De la mora has added 130 yards on 13 carries and on defense, Marcus Powe has five interceptions.

Last season, La Salle went 0-10 including a 38-20 loss to V.C. In other football action tonight, 

Artesia High (2-2) @ El Dorado High (1-3)-The Pioneers had last Friday off as they prepare for the last of their three straight road games. Last time out, Artesia knocked off Westminster High 21-7 on a pair of touchdown runs from sophomore running back Tyler Miller, who gained 227 yards, and one from sophomore quarterback K’Len Williams, who added 172 yards on the ground. As a team, the Pioneers pounded out 451 yards and has over 900 for the season. 

A win over the Hawks would go a long way as Artesia faces Segerstrom High and Western High the next two weeks. Those two teams are ranked second and fifth respectively in the CIF-Southern Section Division 10 poll. El Dorado, who has lost three straight contests, fell to El Modena High 34-17 last Friday.

Cerritos High (2-2) @ Northwood High (3-1)-After beginning the season with two straight wins and 93 points scored, the Dons have stumbled and were surprised by Beverly Hills High 22-20 last Friday, a team that had been outscored 103-14 the previous two weeks. 

Northwood has been knocking on the doors of the Division 12 top 10 poll and has shutouts in all three of its victories, including a 34-0 conquest against Bolsa Grande High last Friday. 

Gahr High (2-2) @ Mayfair High (1-4)-Historically, Mayfair has been one of the tougher teams in the area. But this season, the Monsoons have struggled and are on a three-game losing streak, including a 31-24 loss to Warren High last Friday. 

Gahr was blanked by Sunny Hills High 38-0 last Friday and have been outscored 79-7 in the past two weeks after allowing 19 points in its two victories to begin the season. This will be the final non-league game for the Gladiators, who need some momentum going into their league opener against Downey High on Oct. 13, then a road game at Dominguez High the following week.

Hawthorne High (2-2) @ John Glenn High (2-3)-The Eagles have endured consecutive blowout losses and have had a hard time finding their offensive groove. Glenn’s 48-0 loss at Western last Friday followed a 66-14 setback to Bell Gardens High the previous week. Both games were on the road, but in Glenn’s first three games of the season, all at home, it scored 118 points while giving up 113.

Hawthorne, too, has also struggled recently and is also on a two-game slide. After consecutive shutouts, the Cougars have fallen to Venice High 49-12 and Leuzinger High 38-6. Glenn needs this game as it will city rival Norwalk on Oct. 4 before its bye week.

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Artesia was 6-13 overall and 1-2 in the 605 League entering this past Monday as the Lady Pioneers visit Oxford Academy today. The two teams, plus John Glenn are battling for third place and the final automatic playoff berth from the league. Artesia will also host last place Pioneer High on Tuesday.

Gahr finished in ninth place in the Gold Division of the Bellflower-Valley Christian Tournament after knocking off Peninsula High 25-15, 25-13. The Lady Gladiators have won all three San Gabriel Valley League matches played and boast an overall record of 11-4. Gahr visited Paramount High on Sept. 26 and will travel to Downey on Tuesday before entertaining Warren and Dominguez High on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

Glenn was 6-8 overall and 1-2 in league entering this week and will host Pioneer today before welcoming Whitney High on Tuesday while Norwalk has lost its first two Suburban League matches to Mayfair in four sets last Thursday and to La Mirada High in a sweep this past Tuesday. The Lady Lancers (4-15 overall) hosted Bellflower High on Sept. 26 and will do the same to Mayfair on Tuesday before going to La Mirada on Thursday.

Valley Christian claimed fifth place in its co-hosted tournament, knocking off Millikan High 26-24, 25-20, then swept Heritage Christian High 25-19, 25-15, 25-20 this past Tuesday night. The next night, the Lady Defenders went to Whittier Christian High and rallied to defeat the Heralds in a five-set thriller, 27-25, 20-25, 19-25, 25-20, 16-14 to finish the first round of league play at 17-7 overall and 3-1 in the Olympic League. They will visit Maranatha High on Thursday.