CIF PLAYOFFS: Apache Band Was Good, Football Team Was Even Better

November 19, 2011
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bdbseniors11They were relentless and precise, marching up and down the field at will. Not one blown assignment all night long. Their uniforms were spotless, too. They came at Bonita in waves, as impressive a sight on a football field that’s been seen in the San Gabriel Valley this year.

And we’re just talking about the Arcadia Marching Band and Color Guard. The school’s football team was pretty good, too, easily defeating Bonita 39-13, on a night — outside of Cameron Griffin’s 160 rushing yards and Toure McCulley exciting kick-off returns – the Bearcats could do little right.

On a night that they needed to show a balanced attack to have any chance of competing against the talented Apaches, the Bearcats totaled just 35 passing yards.

The game didn’t start well for the Bearcats and it did not end well.

On its opening series, Arcadia marched to Bonita’s 30-yard line before turning the ball over to Bonita on a fumble. The Bearcats didn’t know what to do with the gift. After a couple of running plays, Aaron Burkett was picked off and Arcadia was back in business at Bonita’s 48. Eight plays later, the Apaches were in the end zone, capped by Jake Medel’s 4-yard run. The extra point try failed.

On the ensuing kick-off, McCulley reeled off a 66-yard return to give Bonita the ball on the Apache’s 34-yard line. But again the Bearcats came up empty. After making one first down and taking the ball down to the 16 behind sophomore signal caller Tanner Diebold who had replace Burkett, Bonita suffered a procedure penalty and a sack. Unable to complete a fourth and 15 pass, Bonitahanded the ball over to the Apaches once again.

Benefiting from a roughing the passer call, Arcadia strung together another long drive before Nick Puliciano punched through a 26-yard field goal that gave the Apaches a 9-0 lead.

Then Bonita flashed the brilliance that fans saw during the team’s four-game winning streak. Starting on their own 30, Bonita strung together a 9-play, 70-yard touchdown drive featuring the Bearcats hard-running combo of Griffin and Reggie Turner. The ninth play was a 27-yard touchdown gallop by Turner, pulling Bonita with two points of the lead after Brandt Davis’s extra point.

The Apaches counter-punched with a 54-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 14-yard play-action scoring strike from quarterback Myles Carr to Alex McElwee in the back of the end zone.

Bonita got the ball for two more series in the half, but could do little with it. Unfortunately, the Apaches did. With 19 seconds left, Carr went back to work before hooking up with Robbie Hanes for a 12-yard touchdown completion. The Apaches took a commanding 23-7 lead into the locker room.

A resilient team all year long, Bonita got the ball to start the second half and needed only four plays to find the end zone. Again it was the rushing tandem of Turner and Griffin, before Griffin popped lose for a five-yard touchdown run to make the score 23-13 after the Brandt extra point.

Bonita fans sniffed a Bearcats comeback. Indeed, they had seen it many times before this season. After the Apaches marched to Bonita’s 20, the Bearcats held. But instead of another drive down the field, the Bearcats went three and out.

On the first play from scrimmage on Bonita’s 47, Medley broke free and found the end zone with 4:57 left in the third quarter, extending the Apaches’ lead to 30-13.

The score also broke any last momentum Bonita could muster. The Apaches added a safety when the Bonita snapper-punter exchange sailed out of the end zone. Carr added another 1-yard touchdown run to seal the victory, using the kind of cement that was used to put away Jimmy Hoffa.

A downcast Eric Podley said his Bearcats couldn’t overcome the frequent penalties and long-yardage situations they were constantly battling.

“That’s a good team over there,” Podley said. “We needed to bring our ‘A’ game, and we didn’t. It was a disappointing night.”

Podley learned late Thursday that his big tight end Ryan Ramirez wouldn’t suit up. His presence impacts Bonita’s defense, as well as its running and passing games. “That made it a little hard to plan around,” Podley said.

But mostly, Bonita was its own worst enemy. “The number of penalties and stupid mistakes we had. Not having the right personnel on the field. Taking too much time. Those kinds of penalties at this point in the season are inexcusable. Lack of discipline.

“ You can’t big games that way.”

A solid season ended badly for Bonita. But it will end badly for all but one team. That why they call it the playoffs.

Bonita finished the season 6-5. And the Bearcats still own that Smudge Pot!

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