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605 LEAGUE FOOTBALL – Cerritos shakes off early rust to defeat John Glenn in emotional game, remains in first place tie

 

Cerritos High senior running back Manoj Cowgill was one of eight ball carriers the Dons used in last Thursday night’s 52-31 victory. Cowgill gained six yards on five touches as Cerritos racked up over 220 yards on the ground. PHOTO BY ARMANDO VARGAS, Contributing photographer.

 

October 26, 2021

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

The Cerritos High football team was playing with heavy hearts last Thursday night when it hosted John Glenn High in the final regular season home game for the Dons. Earlier in the week, linemen coach Webster Peters passed away due to a heart attack and the Dons were playing the contest in his honor.

After a pregame moment of silence for Peters and a slow start to the game, the Dons turned it around in a big way, outscoring the Eagles 30-12 over the final 35 minutes to post a 52-31 victory, leaving the team with a 4-5 overall record and 2-0 in the 605 League. The win set up a winner-take-all situation with Artesia High, an 18-17 winner at Pioneer High, tonight for the league championship.

“Obviously, you’ve seen how the kids have responded and they played hard tonight for him,” said Cerritos head coach Brad Carter. “I know he was watching us from above and I think he would be proud of the performance tonight.

“It was a very emotional, draining week for everybody involved in our program,” he later said. “I’m just really proud of how we came out and played.”

Spectators were asked to wear gold in honor of Peters and donations were made throughout the night at several locations at Dr. Hanford Rants Stadium on the Gahr High campus. Cerritos didn’t have practice on Wednesday and with a short week, the last thing the Dons wanted was to come out slow. On the third play of the contest, Glenn senior running back Iona Young scored on a 34-yard run. Even though Cerritos junior running back Quincy Monreal carried the ball 10 straight times on the ensuing possession, the drive stalled with a turnover.

The Eagles (1-7, 0-2), though, couldn’t take advantage and when junior Joseph Chavez punted, Cerritos senior Mateo Martinez returned it back 31 yards for a touchdown. Add on a two-point conversion run from senior quarterback David Sagun, and the Dons had an 8-7 lead it would not relinquish.

After a fumble on Glenn’s next play, Cerritos went up 16-7 on a 16-yard run and two-point conversion run from senior running back Connor Defrain. The Eagles tried to stay close when Young got loose for a 36-yard touchdown run. But that was quickly answered with a Sagun 40-yard score to Defrain with 11 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Young, who has been Glenn’s only offensive threat all season long, led everyone with 247 yards on 29 carries. Just in the first quarter alone, he had racked up 117 yards on 11 touches.

“[Young] is very impressive; he’s a great player,” Carter said. “We knew coming in that [Young] was their main cog and we had a hard time containing him. Credit to their offense and their game plan; [Young] is a tough guy to bring down. But in the second quarter, we kind of settled down and then in the second half, we kind of figured some things out.”

 

Cerritos High senior quarterback David Sagun gets one of his eight passes off before John Glenn High senior linebacker Richard Ramos can get to him in last Thursday night’s Cerritos 52-31 victory that left the Dons tied for first place in the 605 League. Sagun completed five passes for 123 yards and three first half touchdowns.  PHOTO BY ARMANDO VARGAS, Contributing photographer.

 

Four plays into the second quarter, Young scored from 60 yards out before the Dons started to pick up the pace on both sides of the ball. A Defrain 16-yard run followed by a 40-yard score from Sagun made it 29-19 just 80 seconds into the stanza. Glenn was then forced to punt from deep in its territory and Chavez would be tackled in the end zone for a safety. One play later, the Dons expanded their lead to 38-19 on a 40-yard pass from Sagun to sophomore wide receiver Jake Bautista. The half ended with junior wide receiver Alex Martinez hauling in a 17-yard score from Sagun. After the fumble on the first possession of the game, Cerritos scored touchdowns on five of its next six possessions.

“Offensively, we were able to do what we wanted to do,” Carter said. “We have some guys still dinged up, so we were kind of using a lot of different pieces. But I’m really just happy with our offensive performance all the way around. Sagun led the team again and just his leadership running the ball and then Connor came in and gave us a nice spark.”

The lone Cerritos touchdown in the second half came from Monreal, who tacked on a 25-yard run nearly two minutes into the fourth quarter. Monreal led Cerritos with 100 yards on 21 carries and as a team, eight different ball carriers combined for 221 yards on 38 carries. Sagun, who added another 52 yards on six carries, completed five of eight passes for 123 yards.

“There were a lot of holes in the running game, which we were hoping for, and we really didn’t have to open the passing game,” Carter said. “Luckily, the run game carried us in the game.”

The Eagles would score once in each quarter of the second half, first a 21-yard fumble recovery from junior defensive back Manuel Sigala, then a 45-yard pass from senior quarterback Nataniel Jacobo to junior wide receiver David Sanchez. Jacobo, in one of his better games this season, completed four of eight passes for 57 yards. But the story of the night remained focus on the passing of Peters.

“This is new to me, and I know I’m young in the business compared to a lot of other guys, but this is unique, and I really hope it never has to happen again,” Carter said. “For this suddenness to happen in season, it was just really tough. There’s no other way to describe it.”

The 605 League title will come down to tonight’s game at Artesia with both teams undefeated in league action. Cerritos won all three league contests last season in the abbreviated season, knocking off the Pioneers 30-6. Since the inception of the 605 League, Artesia, Cerritos and Glenn have won the title once with Pioneer High finishing no higher than third place.

“We had that game circled and we had feeling it might come down to us two for the league championship,” Carter said. “I know our boys will be ready; I know their boys will be ready and I think it’s going to be a great high school football game. It’s kind of a new local rival, down the street from Cerritos. I think it’s just going to be fireworks for sure. We’re excited to have a championship game…it’s what you work hard for all season.”

 

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