Colleen Bennett - Sotheby's International Realty

La Verne San Dimas Pop Warner Saves Best for Last

September 20, 2009
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The Trojans' Dane Hollar wraps up a Chiefs running back.

The Trojans' Dane Hollar wraps up a Chiefs running back.

La Verne San Dimas Pop Warner saved the best for last. After the Trojans, Tritons and Centurions all lost earlier games at Glenn Davis Stadium in La Verne on Sunday, Sept. 20, the Gladiators won the final contest of the quadruple-header, 47-0, over the Pomona Kodiacs.

In the opener, the Trojans had no answer for the San Bernardino Cardinals, who won 44-0. The Trojans played nicked up, and lost Dane Hollar to an injury in the second half.

Nothing Bundt Cackes

The Trojans turned the ball over three times in the first half, mistakes from which they couldn’t recover. It was a tough lesson for the Trojans who learned they have to compete on every down, not just when things are going their way. The loss was doubly tough, coming off their big win the week before.

“We’ve been on both sides of this,” head coach Pat Bearse said. “They know they have to keep fighting. We all have to improve, coaches included. We have a lot of new kids who are still learning their positions.

The Gladiators' Jalen Palacios was a scoring machine, accounting for 18 points in about three minutes, highlighted by interceptions he ran back for touchdowns and a long reception to start the game.

The Gladiators' Jalen Palacios was a scoring machine, accounting for 18 points in about three minutes, highlighted by interceptions he ran back for touchdowns and a long reception to start the game.

“It’s still early in the season, but we need to pick it up and turn the corner. We’ll have to find a way to motivate them differently. When kids are five and six, they just worry about eating cereal and watching cartoons. At this age, kids have a lot more on their minds.

Even in defeat, many Trojans continued to gut it out on the field, regardless of the score. Joseph Provenzano and Joe San Marco kept battling. The coach also singled out center Quinn Elliott for his steady effort and never-say-die attitude.

In the second game, the Riverside Patriots prevailed 8-6 over the LVSD Tritons. Remarkably, the Patriots controlled the football all but 2:32 minutes of the first half. It was only in the third quarter that the Tritons started getting their offense in gear behind the hard running of Angel Verdugo, Josh Corona and quarterback Thomas Loy.

In the fourth quarter, Loy hooked up with Richard Lucero for a long pass, but the drive stalled on the Patriots 15-yard-line. The Tritons, however, got the ball back in good field position. After one long Loy-Jacob Ello completion to the one-yard line was called back on a penalty, the pair connected a second time for a touchdown to make the score 8-6. The Tritons, however, missed the tying kick, and never got another real chance to score as the game clock expired.

The Tritons finished strong.

The Tritons finished strong.

“Definitely, we were asleep the first half,” said head coach Eric Rios. “We didn’t wake up until the fourth quarter.”

Although disappointed by the loss, the coach complimented the play of Loy, Verdugo, Corona and his two receivers Ello and Lucero. With the loss, the Tritons slip to 1-1.

In the third contest, it was another case of missed opportunities as the Centurions fell to Rancho Cucamonga 19-0. Rancho scored on three big plays, including a quarterback keeper and a screen pass, while the Centurions stalled out in the red zone on three occasions.

Regardless of the score, the cheering never stops for LVSD.

Regardless of the score, the cheering never stops for LVSD.

“If you don’t score in the red zone, you’re not going to do very well, “said head coach Steve Sizemore. “We played fairly well, made three mistakes and those mistakes led to three touchdowns. But we’re getting better.”

The Centurions moved the ball; they simply didn’t move it into the end zone to complete drives.

The coach praised the play of quarterback Andrew Reichenfeld, receiver Art Corona, linebacker Kevin Sizemore and all-purpose, two-way starter Sam Fecteau. He also extolled the play of his entire offensive line, which includes Blake Lowary, Jesse Toro, Brent Kinsman, Matt Arteaga and Boston Jenkins. “They all did a good job.”

Points that were so hard to come by earlier in the day came in buckets when the Gladiators finally took the field in the nightcap. On the game-opening play from scrimmage, quarterback Bryce Young threw a 50-yard bomb to Jalen Palacios. It turns out Palacios was just warming up. Palacios ended the Kodiaks next two possessions with interceptions, running each back for a touchdown. In a span of about three minutes, he single-handedly put up 18 points on the scoreboard. His lucky No. 7 jersey was all over the field. Before the day was through, he also threw a long scoring pass to Young and ran in an extra point.

Some of LVSD's newest fans, 11-month-old twins Brayden and Ashton.

Some of LVSD's newest fans, 11-month-old twins Brayden and Ashton.

“He’s a great player,” said head coach Craig Young. “He rotates quarterback and also plays linebacker. He has good leadership skills and is just an excellent player who has outstanding football instincts.”

The gladiators have many budding stars, however. “We have a lot of players that can sub in and sub out. Our problem is spreading and sharing the football equally because we have a lot of pretty good talent.”

The blowout surprised Young. “You never expect this score, and we don’t want this score, and it could be misleading. But I expected us to play well.”

Also finding the end zone after long runs were Chandler Auguste, Elijah Jackson and Lucas McGill.

More good news followed late in the day. The LVSD Romans beat the Ontario Raiders, 22-18, and the Barbarians defeated Fontana, 20-0. Just as reported, LVSD saved its best for last.

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