Nowhere to be found in the top rankings listed in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune or the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the Bonita Bearcats proved after their 61-13 mugging of Claremont on Friday night that reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated.
After dropping three straight contests to start the season, Bonita football is back – and just in time as Hacienda League action begins next week against Rowland Heights.
“We were tired of hearing that we were a good 0-3 team,” said Adriano Medrano after notching his first high school victory as Bonita’s head coach.
On a sultry night, Bonita didn’t waste any time heating up and getting on the board. With 9:16 left in the first quarter, Brandt Davis booted a 25-yard-field goal to give the Bearcats an early 3-0. That lead quickly widened to 9-0 after a 1-yard touchdown dive by Reggie Turner, set up by pass completions from Tanner Diebold to Reggie Cochran and A.J. Greco.
Bonita still wasn’t through. After defensive stops by Christian McQueen and Brandt Davis filling in at safety for Brendan Smith, who is lost for the season with a broken leg, Dimas Diaz stepped in front of an errant Craig Myers pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown to give Bonita a 16-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Bonita signaled that its early-season slumber and stumbles were indeed over. Diebold found a streaking Victor Magallanes for a 34-yard touchdown hook-up along the southern sideline, and then it seemed that before you could look down at your over-priced kettle corn, Turner was galloping for another 48-yard touchdown romp to make the score 30-0.
Bonita’s only first-half hiccup was an ill-advised pass by Diebold that Claremont’s Addison Whitham picked off. Four plays later, Myers got Claremont on the board, 30-6, with a short touchdown pass to Washington Reeder.
To their credit, Bonita rolled right back down the field and Davis kicked a 45-yarder through the uprights to give Bonita a 33-6 half-time lead.
The start of the second half erased any thoughts of another Bonita collapse (the Bearcats led La Serna 23-0 at one point the week before). Mark Salce took the opening kick-off 98 yards to light up the scoreboard for Bonita once more.
Then Salce, enjoying the touchdown experience so much, corralled a 6-yard touchdown pass from Diebold to balloon the score to 47-6.
Then after Claremont muffed a punt, Turner took over, galloping into the end zone for this third touchdown, a 7-yard scamper, to give Bonita a 54-6 lead.
Bonita completed its scoring in the fourth quarter with its sharp second unit led by sophomore quarterback Cody Brazzil. Brazzil directed an 81-yard touchdown drive capped by a Joey Verdugo touchdown plunge up the middle.
On the other side of the ball, Craig Myers ended up throwing three touchdown passes for Claremont, but it just wasn’t enough on a night Bonita was signaling to upcoming league opponents that its early-season hibernation was over.
Maybe it was the hot weather that finally made the Bearcats sizzle. Maybe they were just tired of being called one of the best 0-3 teams in the valley.