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WEEK ZERO FOOTBALL:  Cerritos finds some positives in season-opening rout to Western

 

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

The good news for the 2018 Cerritos High football team in its season opener against Western High is that they didn’t get embarrassed like they did in last season’s opener when the Pioneers routed the Dons 51-2. The bad news is Cerritos still lost badly in its opener last Friday night to the same Western team, this time by a 69-33 count at Dr. Hanford Rants Stadium.

Despite the blowout loss, Cerritos head coach Barry Thomas found more good things to take from the game than last year’s meeting. For starters, senior running back Tye Anderson and senior quarterback Stacy King combined to gain 172 yards on 28 touches and score the five touchdowns the Dons would have. Also, dating back to last season, Cerritos has combined to score 91 in its past three games.

“It’s a character thing; it’s nothing I taught or coached,” Thomas said. “That’s them deciding that they’re not going to stop fighting. That’s a tribute to them as a group.”

The Dons were down 28-0 nearly 10 minutes into the game and had gained nine yards without getting a first down. At the same time, the Pioneers scored their second and third touchdowns on consecutive plays. But with 44 seconds left in the opening stanza, King scored on a three-yard run. Western, which scored on its first seven drives and had 468 yards total offense in the first half, scored four more times in the second quarter, twice by the air and twice by the ground.

Meanwhile, Anderson scored on a 45-yard run with 8:39 left in the second quarter and an 88-yard kickoff return with 1:09 remaining before halftime. And despite Western converting on all four if its fourth down plays in the half (six for the game), Thomas said his team did the fundamental things last Friday night as opposed to last season.

“Overall, I felt like we played pretty well against the run,” Thomas said. “Again, numbers won’t reflect that. But we played as far as doing what we’re coached to do.”

Anderson capped off the scoring for Cerritos late in the third quarter with a 17-yard run. But one of the game’s headlines was King, who made his first varsity start. After going one of 14 for nine yards in the first half, he finished the game with eight completions and 75 yards. He also picked up 71 yards on the ground.

“That’s just Stacy being Stacy,” Thomas said. “He never got rattled, even when he wasn’t connecting or if there was a drop. And I think that’s because he played as a sophomore. Even though he played wide receiver, he got a little bit of time at quarterback. He played as a sophomore and that’s huge. The stage wasn’t too big as far as him getting rattled. So, that was a positive.”

Sophomore cornerback Joseph Quibrantar led the Dons with 16 tackles. Also having big games, according to Thomas, were senior defensive linemen Daniel Gomez and Jacob Guzman (six tackles) and sophomore defensive linemen Jace Ramirez (11 tackles, one sack) and Will Reed on defense stood out

Cerritos travelled to Firebaugh High, a 56-0 loser to Santa Ana Valley High last week, on Aug. 23, hoping to get back in the win column. The Dons will then visit Bolsa Grande High on Aug. 31.

“If we play, as far as not quitting, I’ll take our chances against anybody,” Thomas said.

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