Spartan Stadium hosted the 56th renewal of the Rio Hondo League football rivalry between La Cañada High School and San Marino last Friday evening. It proved to be a game that the visiting Titans will want to forget.
The Spartans dominated the contest en route to a 35-0 victory, which was the most lopsided La Cañada win in the history of the series. (It surpassed a 35-7 LCHS victory back on Oct. 24, 1980.)
While the game took nearly three hours to finish, all one really needed to know about the contest is it was determined in the first three series’ of downs. Starting at their own 40-yard line, the Spartans needed just four plays to find paydirt, courtesy of a highlight-reel, 35-yard run by quarterback Ivan Ostry. The senior entered the end zone untouched for the two-point conversion, to give La Cañada an 8-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
San Marino marched downfield on the ensuing drive but on fourth down, senior Abraham Jhee stepped in front of a pass thrown by Titan quarterback Niko Mavridis and returned the interception to La Cañada’s 48-yard line.
Ostry needed only three plays this time, breaking tackles attempted by nearly every white-clad Titan defender on the field before high-stepping into the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown run.
The stadium lights had barely taken effect on the beautiful spring evening when Ostry lobbed the ball to a wide-open Dezin Delgatty for a two-point conversion to make the score 16-0 with three minutes left to play in the first quarter.
It was long past nightfall when the scoreboard registered the final score of 35-0.
Ostry, a transfer student from Rosemead High School who transferred to LCHS when Rosemead decided not to field a football team this year, presented a constant challenge to Titan defenders all night long. One signature play that typified his evening took place when a center snap went 20 yards over Ostry’s head and the quarterback coolly ran it down and scrambled 39 yards for a touchdown. The flashy signal-caller carried the ball 15 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Spartans to victory.
If that wasn’t enough, Ostry also completed five of his six passes for another 81 yards. He even caught a pass for 13 yards and another score and crossed the goal line for a two-point conversion to cap a night where he scored 26 points all by his lonesome. This may help explain at least part of Ostry’s success; he seemed to be all by himself out on the turf.
While Spartan fans clearly enjoyed the quarterback show that is currently in the theater, they were also treated to a coming attraction with the appearance of freshman Macky Plocher, who threw the touchdown pass to Ostry, rushed for another 12 yards and operated the Spartans’ offense with an aplomb that defied his young age.
Tailback Brian Staron carried the ball six times for 37 yards and a touchdown.
Jhee proved that he could catch passes thrown by quarterbacks on both teams, snaring two from Ostry for a total of 41 yards.
Despite all of the offensive highlights, La Cañada’s players on the other side of the line of scrimmage stole the show. Among his many big plays, junior middle linebacker Brandon Shepherd recorded two quarterback sacks and two tackles for losses.
“Brandon was coming back from a knee in jury, and he was lights out,” said Dave Avramovich, the Spartans’ defensive coordinator. Defensive end Ian Phillips received acknowledgement for an outstanding defensive effort, as did sophomore Corey Chung.
“Corey did a great job,” Avramovich said. “He was asked to cover San Marino’s best pass-receiving running back and he played exceptionally well. Overall, this was our best game of the season, defensively.”
Senior Gordy Cucullu earned his coach’s respect for his performance at defensive end.
Credit was also given to two-way performers Staron, Ostry, Ghee and Delgatty, who provided a key interception to thwart a drive and also deflected a pass to thwart the Titans’ first possession of the second half when the visitors were trying to mount a comeback.
The game provided one tense moment for the Spartans when junior Jamie Warner was carted off the field by paramedics with an injury. Warner was reported to be in good spirits but was not expected to play in Thursday night’s game against Monrovia.