_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES ________________________         EBOOK


WEEK 4 FOOTBALL: John Glenn has record-breaking performance against Cerritos in Suburban League opener

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter


Things are turning around for the John Glenn High football program and the Suburban League would be wise to take notice. Usually, the Eagles are giving up as many as 64 points in any given week, especially in league play. But against Cerritos High, the tables were turned.

Behind a spectacular performance from senior running back Carlos Pulido, Glenn posted what may be a school record in points scored in a game, routing the Dons 64-25 last Friday night at Excelsior Stadium on homecoming night. Pulido, who was the runner-up in being named the 2017 Homecoming King, rushed for 246 yards on 34 carries and scored four times.

“It just feels great to finally have a winning program,” Pulido said. “We’ve worked hard for this. I was prepared to get this [performance].”

“Yeah, he’s a wonderful kid,” said Glenn head coach Vince Lobendahn. “We built our offense to make sure we run game because we knew the passing game would be there. So, we developed a run game to support that and Pulido always found a way to know the right play and do the right job.”

The Eagles (4-1 overall, 1-0 in league) are off to their best start since 2009 when they began that campaign at 4-0 before finishing 5-5 and missing the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section playoffs. The four victories are the most since 2011 (4-6) and the team has already scored 183 points. Last season, Glenn scored 197 points, 81 in 2015 and 116 in 2014.

After both teams traded interceptions within the first 48 seconds of the game, Glenn got on the board when Pulido punched it in from six yards out. Two plays later, Glenn junior free safety Ivan Ramirez recovered a fumble and seven plays after the miscue, junior quarterback David Sanchez tossed a 42-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Tim Stevenson as the Eagles led 14-0 after the first quarter.

Almost four minutes into the second quarter, senior Dimitri Hernandez, who rushed in the two-point conversion on Pulido’s score, added a two-yard run with Pulido getting the two-point conversion. But on the ensuing kickoff, Cerritos senior Christian King returned it back 89 yards for a touchdown. But he wasn’t done with that.

The Eagles went up 30-8 with 5:08 left in the half on a one-yard run from senior Carlos Manriquez, plus the subsequent Sanchez to senior Anthony Nava two-point conversion. But again, King received the kickoff and this time, rumbled 88 yards for another touchdown to keep the Dons (1-4, 0-1) in the game. King would then set a Cerritos school record with a third kickoff return for a touchdown when his 70-yarder late in the third quarter made it a 58-25 contest.

“We had a group of freshmen and sophomores who worked in there on our kickoff team and they got hurt in the freshmen game,” Lobendahn said. “So, our kickoff team became our backups to our backups in that group.”

The first half ended with Pulido scoring from two yards out and Manriquez getting the two-point conversion. At 38-13, the Eagles were already three points off their season-high of 41 points, accomplished against Bosco Tech High on Sept. 8 in a shutout, and had scored on five of eight first half possessions. In fact, ball control was key for the hosts in the first half, holding onto the pigskin for 17:21.

“Where we’re at as a program, we’ve really improved,” Lobendahn said. “We’re consistent; we run the same stuff. So, it’s the same team. We’re not doing anything different. All we’re doing is functioning our offense and defense. Our defense is really making the bigger plays. That’s why the numbers are lopsided.”

The Eagles began the second half by going 83 yards in eight plays that covered almost three and a half minutes and ended with another Sanchez to Stevenson connection, this one for 57 yards. Sanchez would complete 10 passes for 210 yards while Stevenson was on the receiving end five times for 135 yards.

“Everyone has kind of decided to have these scatback-type of receivers,” Lobendahn said. “When we found [Tim] in our lineup, we said, ‘there’s just got to be a way this guy has to see the ball’. Just in developing our offense, we put ourselves in a position to always have him in a threatening mode. He’s really been our [Danny] Amendola.”

After Cerritos received a one-yard score from junior running back Tye Anderson, Pulido scored on runs of 20 and four yards respectively in a span of 55 seconds. The final Glenn touchdown came late in the game when senior backup quarterback Damian Huxtable scored on a three-yard run. Glenn would punish the Cerritos defense for 321 yards on 49 carries.

Meanwhile, the Dons were unable to get anything established on offense, as senior quarterback Colby Nielsen was 10 of 19 for 116 yards with most of those yards coming in the fourth quarter/ The rushing game was nearly nonexistent, picking up 20 yards on 19 touches. Nielsen was also sacked six times and Glenn’s defense created six turnovers. Glenn senior cornerback Eric Ruiz had 10 tackles while junior linebackers Caesar Lopez and Allen Parrish each added eight tackles. Cerritos senior safety Ryder Eddy led his team with 22 tackles.

“I was just looking for a ‘W’,” Lobendahn said. “How it came about was what I thought we started on [last] Saturday and showed up [tonight]…our week of work and preparation. I thought our kids answered that quite well. I didn’t know it would be like this. I just felt we would play within a measurable game and go from there.”

Glenn will be put to a big test when it faces longtime city rival Norwalk High tonight in the annual Mayor’s Cup game. Norwalk has won 14 straight games in the series and this could be the final time the teams face each other as Glenn is moving to the new 605 League next season. Cerritos will try to regroup as it hosts winless La Mirada High tonight. The Dons have defeated La Mirada just once, 2001, since becoming a member of the Suburban League and like Glenn, will be moving to the new league next season.