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WEEK FOUR FOOTBALL Norwalk’s newest member steals thunder from ordinary double wing offense

By Loren Kopff

BELLFLOWER-Since Norwalk head coach Jesse Ceniceros took over in 2008, the Lancers have dominated most of their opponents with their double wing offense. But in last Friday night’s Suburban League opener against Mayfair at Ron Yary Stadium, the Lancers unveiled a new element to their potent offense.
Junior quarterback Ausencio Navarro, a junior transfer from Garfield High School, made his Norwalk debut and was nearly flawless. Navarro completed seven of 11 passes for 115 yards and threw one touchdown as Norwalk held off a late Monsoon rally for a 21-13 win. The outcome was in doubt until senior David Laugheed picked off Isaiah Jackson at the five-yard line with 15 seconds left to play.
“We’re really proud of the kids,” Ceniceros said. “They were hobbling out there and we had a lot of injuries, it seems like we got. But they kept on fighting, they kept on battling and I’m proud for them because we kept on doing what we do. We kept on pounding the ball and we have a new quarterback and it allowed us to do some different things.”
“It was great,” Navarro said. “I barely started practicing this week and I already feel like these are my brothers. I know they have my back and I have theirs.”
Mayfair controlled the ball for the first 6:17 of the game and ended the long drive when Jackson tossed a five-yard pass to Nicholas Huynh. The Lancers didn’t tie the game until the 9:48 mark of the second quarter when sophomore fullback Jordan Thomas rumbled in from 27 yards out. After both teams traded punts on three straight possessions, the Lancers took the lead for good when Navarro made his presence known.
Following an incomplete pass on second and five from the Mayfair 40-yard line, the newcomer found Tyrant Davis on the left sideline and the senior matriculated 40 yards for the touchdown.
“Tyrant has one of the best hands on the team right now,” Navarro said. “He was thrown in there and that play was pretty much designed for him. I did my best to get him the ball and I fit it in two defenders and he made way with it and scored.”
The Lancers (3-2 overall, 1-0 in league) went up 21-7 on the first play of the fourth quarter when Davis scored from seven yards out. But Mayfair struck back 44 seconds later when Jackson launched a 49-yard pass to Jaylin Godbolt before Faizon Creighton snuck in from a yard out. However, the extra point was unsuccessful.
Norwalk had a chance to ice the game but on the 11th play of yet another long drive, Navarro was intercepted by Querale Hall at the 25-yard line for his only mistake of the game. Mayfair would have two more chances to tie the game but had drives end on downs after Davis sacked Jackson at the Mayfair 44-yard line and the Laugheed interception.
“I didn’t do as well as I expected to do,” Navarro said. “I threw that interception in the end and there were a couple of passes I could have made better. But the O-line is something. I have nothing to worry about when I’m throwing the ball.”
“That’s impressive, and again, it’s only going to allow us to open some things up,” Ceniceros said of Navarro’s first Norwalk game. “He’s a natural athlete; he’s a gift.”
Senior running back Ryan McDowell led everyone with 73 yards on 13 carries while junior running back Chris Walker added 58 yards on 17 carries. Walker also caught three passes for 43 yards. Thomas picked up 53 yards on five rushes and Davis contributed another 49 yards on eight touches.
Senior cornerback Remy Harvey had four tackles and an interception while McDowell and senior defensive end Dillon Faamatau each had three tackles. The Lancers sacked Jackson three times, intercepted him twice and tackled him for a 14-yard loss after a bad snap on fourth down.
This was Norwalk’s third straight win over the Monsoons but first to open league action. The defending league champions will host Cerritos tonight at Excelsior Stadium on homecoming night. It will be just the second of four home games but first at Excelsior Stadium.
“It was very important, especially after we had lost to El Toro and [St. John] Bosco,” Navarro said of winning the league opener. “This was our comeback game and we’re going to show we still have it and what we can do.”