The La Cañada High School varsity football team overcame an 11-point deficit and edged host Hacienda Heights Wilson, 17-14, last Thursday.
The Spartans won their first season opener since 2016, which was Ryan Zerbel’s second and final year coaching the program.
For Sarceda, who took over LCHS football after Zerbel’s departure in 2017, it’s only his second victory as head coach but also his most promising.
“This was an emotional win for us,” Sarceda said. “Being where we’re at and overcoming so many obstacles, it wears on you, on everybody. It was impressive to see them keep fighting to the last minute. It’s important that they fight and get that result so they know that they can do it.”
The Spartans (1-0 overall record) got on the board with a short field goal by Andy Kozanian. However, Wilson quickly turned the game around and built a 14-3 lead at the half.
“We’ve been working on starting off strong,” Sarceda said. “We started off strong and then faltered in the end of the first and second quarters. We didn’t hang tight with our game plan. At halftime, we rallied by resetting our focus. It was a winnable game. We didn’t give up. We had some three-and-outs and scored.”
Brandon Reese threw for 200 yards and connected with Justin Zoltzman for a score. The sophomore quarterback also ran it in for a touchdown.
“We’re excited about him because he’s only a sophomore and very coachable,” Sarceda said. “He’s not coming off the field, though, because he’s an athlete working both sides. We need him to stay healthy.
“The thing about Reese, he came in having played the lineman position. He has a mindset of who he wants to be, and that’s a quarterback. He worked very hard to becoming that, and that shows a lot about his character. He wanted to compete for that quarterback spot.”
Sarceda said he looked forward to watching the defense, and it certainly did not disappoint.
“When we allow them the opportunity to fly, we’re going to be a good team,” Sarceda said. “We just have to keep working to fly and rally to the ball.”
The Spartans will look to go 2-0 for the first time since 2014 as they host Glendale in a nonleague contest this Saturday at 7 p.m.
“We’re 1-0, and looking to go 1-0 again,” Sarceda said. “The win will be gone and come practice, we’re focusing on the next week. One game at a time, one practice at a time. We will be going after it on Saturday and have a game plan set. We’re not going to take them lightly. We’re 1-0 and they’re 1-0.”