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FRANKLIN LOAN CENTER GAME OF THE WEEK: Bonita Shivers to 49-25 Win; Ices Muir with 4 Fourth-Quarter TDs

November 27, 2010
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Bonita's Giomani Johnson scored three fourth-quarter TDs to help the Bearcats pull away late.

Bonita's Giomani Johnson scored three fourth-quarter TDs to help the Bearcats pull away late. All photos by Eric Davis! From to brrrrrr to blurrrrr.

It was the Ice Bowl without the ice, Bonita finally pulling away with a bone-chilling 49-25 win over a Muir Mustang team left numb after throwing a scare into the Bearcats on a frigid Friday night in Pasadena.

The score may have been the least indicative statistic of just how furiously the two teams fought. In fact, Muir trailed just 30-25, and had the ball at midfield with under five minutes to play after recovering an onside kick. After Muir quarterback Jeff Davis just missed hooking up on a couple of deep sideline passes, the Bearcats took over on downs and rattled off three late touchdowns to seal the victory.

Nothing Bundt Cackes

It was a ragged victory, devoid of any rhythm or tempo, but a gutty win nonetheless, catapulting Bonita into the CIF-SS semis. Muir racked up 18 penalties, none more costly than when the team, trailing at the time, 24-18, was penalized for a horse-collar tackle of Bonita’s Giomani Johnson after apparently stopping Johnson on fourth down. Johnson eventually scored on a 6-yard run to extend Bonita’s lead to 30-18 with 8:58 left.

“We told the kids coming into this week that there was going to be a game where you’re going to be challenged, where you’re going to have to fight your way back and deal with adversity,” Bonita head coach Eric Podley said. “This was that game.”

Indeed.

Matt Gelalich scored Bonita's first touchdown to put the Bearcats up early, 10-0.

Matt Gelalich scored Bonita's first touchdown to put the Bearcats up early, 10-0.

Johnson certainly took Podley’s words to heart, rushing for 131 yards, including three fourth-quarter touchdowns. The Mustangs couldn’t corral the elusive senior tailback, on a night when the arctic conditions made it any icy proposition to throw the ball.

“He took over the fourth quarter,” Podley said. “He kind of really led us to victory. A pretty outstanding effort on his part.”

An early outstanding effort also came from Bonita kicker Brandt Davis. After Bonita’s opening drive stalled, the sophomore coolly chipped a 42-yard field goal through the uprights with inches to spare. The early lead helped silence the home town crowd, if only momentarily.

Toure McCulley recovers a first-quarter fumble for Bonita.

Toure McCulley recovers a first-quarter fumble for Bonita.

Bonita looked to add more after Toure McCulley recovered a Muir fumble, but the Bearcats gave it right back on a fumble of their own. This time, Muir drove the field, but Jorge Castro’s 38-yard field goal attempt struck the left upright.

On its next series, Bonita quarterback Garrett Pendleton led Bonita on an 80-yard drive, mixing in passes to Garrett Horine and Zach Brungard and runs by Johnson before wide receiver Matt Gelalich ran an end-around for a 10-yard rushing touchdown, gaining the last yard on a lean and lunge, to the put the Bearcats up 10-0.

The hand-to-hand combat continued into the second quarter, with Muir finally breaking through on a 4-yard touchdown run up the gut by Travelon Yates to pull within 10-6.

Running mates KC Huth (6), Eric Mikity (31) and Gio Johnson celebrate another defensive stop.

Running mates KC Huth (6), Eric Mikity (31) and Gio Johnson celebrate another defensive stop.

It was stop ‘n’ go and go ‘n’ stop for much of the remaining second quarter for both teams before Bonita finally found the end zone on 4-yard pass from Pendleton to Austin Venegas with 2:33 left to take a 17-6 lead. Muir responded with a drive of its own before Castro tear-dropped a field goal that just cleared to keep the Mustangs within striking distance. At the half Bonita led 17-9.

It was a frosty intermission for the Bearcats who huddled near the southern end zone while the Mustangs warmed up inside a big barn like structure. To open the second half, both defenses warmed up while the offenses struggled. With 5:10 left in the third, Castro struck again, booting a 40-yard field goal to bring Muir with five points, 17-12

Bonita responded by mounting a 12-play, 85-yard drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown toss from Pendleton to Horine. After the extra point, Bonita led 24-12.

Cameron Griffith covers up as he finds a hole.

Cameron Griffith covers up as he finds a hole.

On the ensuing kick-off, Kevon Seymour returned the ball all the way to Bonita’s 26, and two plays later Yates was dancing in the end zone after an 18-yard touchdown run. Muir trailed 24-18.

Bonita got the ball back in great field position after Brungard’s return to Bonita’s 44, and got the ball down to the 33 of Muir. Looking at fourth and 14 early in the fourth quarter, the Bearcats gave the ball to Johnson who was ridden out of bounds short of the first down, but the horse collar gave Bonita a fresh set of downs at the 17, and Johnson would eventually score (6-yard touchdown) and score (30-yard touchdown) and score (3-yard touchdown).

The mighty Mustangs kept fighting, however. Even when the game was out of reach after Johnson’s third fourth-period score, Muir received the kick-off on the last play of the game and attempted several desperate laterals before Cameron Griffith scooped up the loose ball and walked into the end zone with Bonita’s final touchdown.

Garrett Pendleton delivers behind a wall of protection.

Garrett Pendleton delivers behind a wall of protection.

The home town scoreboard never showed that final tally, as if it was almost too much for the players and hometown crowd to bear after the game had been so close for so long.

In the end, both teams made mistakes, but Muir’s mistakes proved fatal. While the better, more balanced team won, the Bearcats know they have to eliminate penalties of their own if they are going to advance to the finals. It was tough sledding, but Bonita came away with an important win on the road. Conditions may not have been hostile, but neither were they friendly or ideal.

“We’re excited,” Podley said. “This is the furthest we’ve gone since the championship run (1999). The kids are playing well. We’re excited at how we’re doing.”

Bonita got out of the game relatively unscathed. Tailback Reggie Turner was banged up, but other than his injury, the medical ward was reportedly empty, said Podley, still using a walker to prowl the sidelines.

Next week, Bonita hosts La Serna at home on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. La Serna sports an 11-1 record, including a 28-21 win over Norwalk last night.

Brandt Davis gives Bonita an early 3-0 lead with his 42-yard boot.

Brandt Davis gives Bonita an early 3-0 lead with his 42-yard boot.

Bonita's Sean Kroah proves tough to tackle.

Bonita's Sean Kroah proves tough to tackle.

Cameron Salce takes off.

Cameron Salce takes off.

 

Gelalich races straight up the field.

Gelalich races straight up the field.

Bonita team captains, from left, Garrett Pendleton, Eric Mikity, KC Huth and Giomani Johnson all figured prominently in helping the Bearcats reach the semifinals.

Bonita team captains, from left, Garrett Pendleton, Eric Mikity, KC Huth and Giomani Johnson all figured prominently in helping the Bearcats reach the semifinals.

 

Pendleton has a clear view downfield.

Pendleton has a clear view downfield.

Zach Brungard cradles a reception.

Zach Brungard cradles a reception.

Bonita makes a goal line stand.

Bonita makes a goal line stand.

 

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One Response to “FRANKLIN LOAN CENTER GAME OF THE WEEK: Bonita Shivers to 49-25 Win; Ices Muir with 4 Fourth-Quarter TDs”

  1. Thanks for the great write-up. We are following the Bearcats from Singapore and really appreciate all the details and pictures!

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