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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW : San Marino’s passing ruins christening of Norwalk’s new on-campus football stadium

NORWALK HIGH senior running back David Herrera muscles his way for some of his game-high 145 yards against San Marino High last night. Herrera scored twice but San Marino spoiled Norwalk’s first on-campus varsity football game in school history with a 34-22 victory. Photo by Armando Vargas, contributing photographer.

August 26, 2021

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter


It was the debut of Norwalk High’s on campus football stadium last Friday night and the Lancers were hoping to make some noise by becoming the first varsity team in school history to win steps away from their own classrooms. But a dominant passing attack by San Marino High quarterback Niko Mavridis ruined the night as the Titans rallied for two second half touchdowns to post a 34-22 victory.

“As it got closer to about Thursday evening, it really hit me,” said Norwalk first-year head coach Ruben Guerrero. “But the atmosphere was one of celebration and elation. Everybody was happy, all smiles. The staff, the students; everybody was fired up to be here. It was awesome.”

Norwalk stayed with its traditional double wing offense all night and for the most part, it worked. Junior running back David Herrera scored on a three-yard run just under five minutes remaining in the opening quarter to give the hosts a 6-0 lead. Three plays later, Mavridis launched an 83-yard touchdown pass to Michael Prappas and with the two-point conversion, San Marino had its first lead of the season.

The second quarter would be entertaining as Herrera scored from a yard out 90 seconds in, only to see the Titans tie the contest with 8:44 remaining in the half when Mavridis struck again, this time to Ryan Park for 24 yards. But the Lancers came back again and tacked on their third and final touchdown of the game at the 6:00 minute mark when junior fullback Anthony Martinez scored on a six-yard run.

Norwalk would have the ball for 15:54 of the first half, running 31 times for 191 yards. It would be a different ballgame in the second half where the Lancers were stymied to the tune of 20 rushes for 87 yards over a span of 13:37 and four possessions.

“The second half was tough because we were having a little bit of difficulty stopping them [in the first half], and then they got the ball back [to begin] the second half and they scored,” Guerrero said. “The momentum changed. There were a couple of key blocks we missed that we should have had that we normally count on. I think that freed up some of their defenders to make some key plays and stopped us.”

Guerrero talked about the second half adjustments his team needed to make, which was to

reinforce the plan they were running in the first half and make the adjustments and try to stop Prappas. That did not happen as he ended the game with five catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Mavridis was on fire, completing 15 passes out of 22 attempts for 275 yards and four scores.

“He’s a good quarterback; he’s very experienced,” Guerrero said. “He throws a good ball, and he found our holes and he capitalized on them. He was pretty sharp out there.”

With Norwalk down by 12 points entering the fourth quarter, it knew it needed to divert from its run game in order to have a chance to get back in the game. With junior quarterback Caden Barnhill held out due to Covid issues and Guerrero being notified 30 minutes prior to the game that senior starting right tackle Angel Rosales was not able to play, the first-year head coach had to go to backup options. But neither senior quarterback Angel Amador nor his backup Riley Sosa attempted a pass in the game.

“We tried, and our backup quarterback hurt his hand,” Guerrero said. “So, we put in Riley Sosa…he had to take a few snaps and we did attempt a couple of passes, but Riley was not able to free himself up to get the ball off. We knew we were kind of up against it passing-wise. We weren’t able to use some sneaky passes like we’re accustomed to. It kind of got taken out of our arsenal. It was tough.”

Herrera led the Lancers ground assault with 145 yards on 21 carries while senior running back Jonathan Goodloe added 86 yards on 14 touches. Norwalk will next be in action tonight when it hosts Bell High, a member of the Eastern League in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section. Bell was shutout by Franklin High 33-0 in its opener.

“They ran their hearts out tonight,” Guerrero said. “I think there’s a couple of tips we can provide them. We’ll go back and look at the film. Maybe there were a couple of ways maybe we could have eked out a couple of more yards to have even a more productive night for them. But I think that’s a pretty good combination for us there.”

In other football action, Artesia High began its season on Aug. 26 at Garden Grove High, which also played its first game of the season. Tonight, Gahr High hosts North Torrance High, a 35-7 winner over Segerstrom High last week while John Glenn High opens its season at Firebaugh High, which fell to Lynwood High 27-6 in the opener.

La Mirada High, which was on the wrong end of a 24-21 decision last week against El Toro High, visits Chaffey High tonight. Chaffey fell to Mayfair High 41-12 last week. Finally, Valley Christian High hopes to get into the win column when it entertains Menifee-based Santa Rosa Academy tonight. The Defenders lost to St. Paul High 41-14 last week while Santa Rosa Academy, which opened its doors in 2005, and has had a football program for less than a decade, defeated Desert Christian Academy 36-26 last week.