First published in the Sept. 4 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
The Glendale High School football team had the unenviable task of playing its third consecutive road game of the season and it wasn’t the result that the Nitros had hoped for.
Host San Gabriel controlled the ball with the ground game, keeping Glendale at bay, for a 37-0 victory over the Nitros in nonleague action in a rare Thursday afternoon contest.“We knew they were a physical team and they were going to come out and run the ball hard. That is what they showed,” Glendale coach Jacob Ochoa said. “They don’t do a lot, but they are very physical and run the ball straight at you.”
San Gabriel (3-0 record) relied on its rushing attack to dominate time of possession and eat up the clock. Glendale (0-3) was limited to just four possessions in both the first and second halves.
“I thought our defense played well [and] kept us in it,” Ochoa said. “Our offense struggled. We just didn’t get the job done that we wanted.”
Yards were hard to come by for the Nitros, who were held to under 100 yards in total offense.
The closest Glendale came to scoring was on a kick return by Dennis Perez near the midpoint of the final quarter. The senior received a kickoff and rumbled 82 yards into the end zone, only to have the score nullified by a holding penalty.
“Honestly, it was good blocks all around [but] sadly, there was one bad block that called it back,” Perez said.
Perez was the leading rusher for Glendale, carrying the ball 13 times for 25 hard-fought yards. The senior also caught three passes for a team-high 19 yards.
Four other Nitros carried the ball, with quarterback Jonathan Anaya and Joseph Caballero finishing in the black with six and 10 yards, respectively, on two carries apiece.
Anaya completed nine of 18 passes for 49 yards and was intercepted twice. Keirson Florita had a team-high four catches for 16 yards. Dino Villalobos had one grab for 12 yards and Austin Aldrete had a two-yard catch.
Matador Robert Lucero carried 17 times for 164 yards and a touchdown. In total, the hosts racked up 273 yards on 43 runs.
On its opening possession of the game, San Gabriel drove 71 yards on nine plays, ending with a 12-yard touchdown throw from Jacob Muniz to Ivan Can. The drive ate up 5:20 off the clock and featured runs on the first seven plays.
Trailing 24-0, Glendale seemed poised to score at the end of the first half, driving the ball to just outside the red zone. However, Devin Estrada of the Matadors picked off a pass to end the threat.
On the first possession of the second half for San Gabriel, the Nitro defense came up big. Can burst through the Glendale defense and looked headed for a score, except Glendale’s Anthony Lopez took a good angle and chased him down for a touchdown-saving tackle. Soon after the 61-yard run, Nitro Sergio Avalos picked off Muniz on a diving, seemingly one-armed interception to end the threat.
“We gave it our all,” Perez said. “It wasn’t what we were looking for, but it happened. We’ll get them next week.”
Up next will be the Nitros’ home opener where they will host Pasadena Polytechnic on Friday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m.