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POP WARNER PLAYERS ARE THE TOUGHEST BECAUSE THEY PLAY EVEN WHEN IT’S RAINY AND COLD OUTSIDE

October 17, 2010
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Nick Johnson, who scored two touchdowns for the Gladiators, was living in the zone.

Nick Johnson, who scored two touchdowns for the Gladiators, was living in the zone.

For the first time this season, the La Verne San Dimas Pop Warner Barbarians tasted defeat, losing on Sunday to the Moreno Valley Titans, 19-6, at Glenn Davis Stadium in La Verne. The LVSD Gladiators, however, cruised to a 33-14 win over the Ontario Bullets behind a strong running game and opportunistic defense.

In the opener, Moreno Valley’s Marquis Turner returned the opening kick-off for a 65-yard touchdown, bouncing off tacklers until he reached pay dirt, putting his team up 6-0. On the Barbarians second offensive series, Kevin Golden and Aaron Moreno gave LVSD a solid one-two punch before their drive stalled at the 34-yard-line of Moreno Valley.

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When the Titans took over on offense, it was Turner again doing the damage, romping 66 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. After the extra point, the Titans led 13-0. It appeared that the Barbarians would get on the board just before half, but a reverse called by the coaches was poorly executed as the horn sounded.

The Barbarians aren't only good players, they're a patriotic bunch.

The Barbarians aren't only good players, they're a patriotic bunch.

To start the second half, the Barbarians got the ball, but did little with it before handing it back to the Titans. With 2:56 remaining in the third, Moreno Valley’s Elisha Robinson cut back against defenders on his way to a 30-yard touchdown, giving the Titans a commanding 19-0 advantage.

In its second series of the third quarter, the Barbarians finally broke through on a 66-yard touchdown run down the left sideline by Kevin Golden. The touchdown seemed to spark the Barbarians’ offense. After the defense held Moreno Valley, the Barbarians took over at midfield and marched down to Moreno Valley’s 2-yard-line before the game clock expired. A costly offside penalty helped keep LVSD out of the end zone.

Marquis Luna, No. 34, returned the opening kick off for a touchdown.

Marquis Luna, No. 34, returned the opening kick off for a touchdown.

Just like the weather, it took the Barbarians a while to warm up and they could never quite close the gap. “We started flat,” said head coach Sal Martinez. “It was cold and rainy. Then we finally started to hold them down. The kids fought back, but we just ran out of time.”

In the second game, not even the clock could stop the Gladiators’ high-octane offense. In its second offensive series,

In the huddle with the Barbarians.

In the huddle with the Barbarians.

Devvin Gitchuway raced 49 yards down the right sideline to give LVSD an early 6-0 lead. After holding Ontario, the Gladiators again went on the attack, with Nick Johnson delivering the coup de grace, a 7-yard touchdown run to boost LVSD’s lead to 13-0 after converting the extra point.

Things didn’t get any better for the Bullets. On their very first possession of their next offensive series, defensive back Bryce Young stepped in front of a pass and returned it 35-yards for a touchdown. After the extra point, LVSD led 20-0. The Gladiators had scored 20 points in the opening quarter.

A Barbarian breather.

A Barbarian breather.

In the second quarter Ontario responded with a touchdown drive of its own, using a short field to march 34 yards, with Cesar Damos running it in from the 1-yard-line. After the extra point, the Bullets had trimmed the Gladiators lead to 20-7.

In Ontario’s next series, things didn’t go as well because LVSD’s Young picked off his second pass of the morning, giving the Gladiators the ball once more. On a quarterback keeper on the last play of the half, Young weaved his way down the left sideline before getting knocked out of bounds deep in Ontario territory. Young got up a little gimpy, but his father, Head Coach Craig Young, said his quarterback would be okay and ready for the second half.

Kevin Golden won a foot race into the end zone to put the Barbarians on the board.

Kevin Golden won a foot race into the end zone to put the Barbarians on the board.

Not only was Young ready to play, but the entire team came out playing hard. Mixing things up, the Gladiators featured the running tandem of Blue Wallace and Miles Mouradian. Penalties finally stalled the Gladiators’ drive. After Ontario couldn’t move the ball, the Bullets elected to punt, a strategy that backfired when Nick Johnson electrified LVSD fans with a 45-yard touchdown run that started with an over-the-shoulder catch. For the extra point, Young found J.P. Andrade in the end zone to make the score, 27-7.

In the fourth quarter, both teams traded touchdowns. LVSD’s Gitchuway got fans out of their seats with a 60-yard run. Moreno Valley’s Anthony Rios tallied for the Bullets. The period also featured a third interception by Young, breaking an LVSD record.

It was another dominating performance by the Gladiators.

“We’re blessed to have some great players and coaches,” head coach Craig Young said. “Our players are experienced and they’re smart.”

LVSD cheerleaders deliver a winning performance every game.

LVSD cheerleaders deliver a winning performance every game.

Kevin Golden tries to squeeze out a few extra yards on an end-around.

Kevin Golden tries to squeeze out a few extra yards on an end-around.

Barbarians engage in a post-game chat.

Barbarians engage in a post-game chat.

The Gladiators' Cobb gets some first-class treatment from team mom and cancer survivor Michelle Winfrey, who applied pink tape to each player in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness.

The Gladiators' Cobb gets some first-class treatment from team mom and cancer survivor Michelle Winfrey, who applied pink tape to each player in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness.

Devvin chats with mom after scoring a touchdown.

Devvin chats with mom after scoring a touchdown.

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