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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW : Gahr football struggles to keep players healthy, get blasted by North Torrance in season opener


September 1, 2021

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter


Gahr High’s football team had to cancel its Aug. 20 opener against Mayfair High because of Covid issues. The extra week off didn’t prove to be that much beneficial as the Gladiators saw more players go down one by one before and during their real season opener against North Torrance High last Friday night at Dr. Hanford Rants Stadium.

Gahr was unable to move much on offense, piling up numerous bad snaps from center, turning the ball over and putting together under 80 yards rushing in a 44-0 loss to the Saxons. It was so bad that North Torrance posted a pair of safeties, something you rarely see in a high school football game. Despite all that, Gahr head coach wasn’t too concerned about the negative rushing plays

“That wasn’t too much,” he said. “The biggest problem was that we had too many guys go down. Before the game starts, we lose our ‘X’. The next play, on the kickoff, we lose our ‘R’. And then [senior running back Joshua] Rubio gets hurt. We can’t run an offense because we had to move guys around on the first drive.”

Marshall credits a lack of football experience to why players were getting injured throughout the game. He even took a poll of how many players had varsity experience and half of the team raised their hands.

Gahr’s first five possessions ended in downs, a safety because of a high snap that sailed 24 yards through the end zone, consecutive interceptions and a fumble. In the first half alone, the Gladiators ran 27 plays, had 59 yards, all rushing, and just four first downs. At the same time, the Saxons were building a 23-0 halftime lead.

“Some of them have to learn what this thing is all about,” Marshall lectured to his team after the game. “In the first half, we gave up pass plays, which was the strength of our defense, on a vertical route and I don’t understand.”

On Gahr’s first possession of the second half, a loss of 10 yards on another bad snap resulted in the second safety of the game. North Torrance then capitalized on the ensuing free kick and padded its lead to 31-0. When the Gladiators finally got off a punt, it only took a 19-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Ke’Enan Lagarde to Khyren Purdy to make it 37-0 with 1:22 remaining in the third quarter. The final stanza would be played under running clock conditions.

One of the bright spots for Gahr was junior quarterback Tyvon McGirt, who even though did not complete a pass in six attempts, rushed for 21 yards on 17 carries. Among those carries were two gains of 13 yards each in the first quarter and one for 15 yards in the third quarter. It’s the first time in a long time that Marshall has had a quarterback that can also run out of the pocket.

“Actually, he wasn’t planning on playing quarterback,” Marshall said. “He was supposed to be our ‘Z’, but he’s our quarterback, so we changed our offense. He did some really good things. I thought [junior running back Jaquan] Miller did some really good things at running back. Now we have to try to figure out what we can and cannot do. The problem is, if we can’t throw the football, we’re not physical enough to run the ball right and left.”

In all, the Gladiators had a dozen plays resulting in a total of 72 yards of negative yardage. They will try to bounce back tonight when they travel to Northridge to face Heritage Christian High out of the Olympic League. The Warriors are winless in their first two games and have been outscored 69-8.

In other area football action, Cerritos High, coming off a 50-0 loss to Banning High last Friday night on the road, hosted Portola High on Sept. 2. The Bulldogs have won their first two games by a combined score of 74-15.  Another game was that played on Sept. 2 was John Glenn High hosting Long Beach Cabrillo High. Glenn picked up a resounding 40-8 victory against Firebaugh High in its opener last Friday while the Jaguars entered the contest at 0-2, losing to a pair of CIF-Los Angeles City Section teams by a combined score of 85-20.

La Mirada High bounced back from an opening-season loss to El Toro High and shutout Chaffey High 28-0 behind a pair of touchdown passes from Nehuel Garcia, who has now completed 35 passes in 53 attempts for 427 yards and four touchdowns. The Matadores will entertain St. Margaret’s High tonight at Excelsior Stadium. St. Margaret’s fell to El Cajon-based Christian High 20-16 in its season opener after the Tartans led 9-7 at the half. This will be the last time until Oct. 15 that La Mirada will have a home game.

Norwalk High slammed Bell High 35-6 last Friday night to pick up its first win of the season. The Lancers hosted Savanna High, losers of its first two games of the season, on Sept. 2.

Finally, after getting blown out by St. Paul High 41-14 on Aug. 20, Valley Christian High took its frustrations out on Santa Rosa Academy last Thursday with a 45-0 victory. Tonight, the Defenders will travel to Crean Lutheran High, which has begun the season with close losses to Ontario Christian High (14-7) and Northwood High (17-14). Crean Lutheran quarterback Gavin Rogers is 37 of 64 for 358 yards and a pair of touchdowns while running back Andrew Duberow has rushed 25 times for 56 yards and scored a touchdown.

Meanwhile, V.C. senior quarterback Logan Lemonnier has completed 24 passes in 33 attempts for 310 yards and thrown a pair of touchdowns while also gaining 53 yards on nine carries. Senior wide receiver Carson Slager has caught seven balls for 93 yards while junior wide receivers Nick Bozanic and Micah Maurer have combined to haul in eight receptions for 178 yards.


Artesia, which picked up its first win on Aug. 24 against La Mirada, will host Norwalk on Wednesday before going to St. Joseph High on Thursday.

Cerritos, which has won four of its first five matches, travelled to V.C. on Sept. 2 for its only match until Sept. 10.

Gahr swept Bellflower High 25-11, 25-13, 25-22 this past Tuesday to improve to 2-1 as the Lady Gladiators hosted Pacifica High on Sept. 2 and will go to El Rancho High on Wednesday.

Glenn entertained Norwalk on Sept. 2, having won once in its first four matches while the Lady Lancers were winners of three of their first four matches. Glenn will travel to Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High on Thursday while Norwalk hosts Whitney High today and Bell Gardens High on Tuesday. Whitney has lost its first four matches.

La Mirada has also lost all four of its matches, winning just one set as it visited Kennedy High on Sept. 2. The Lady Matadores will go to Pacifica High Tuesday, Downey High on Wednesday and California High on Thursday.