PASADENA — Whenever the Glendale High football team had seized momentum, La Salle had a quick response.
So rapid that the Nitros could barely lay a finger on La Salle all-purpose standout Israel Lacy, who enjoyed arguably the biggest game of his career.
Lacy scored on two kickoff returns and rushed for one touchdown Friday night to lead host La Salle to a 45-16 nonleague victory against Glendale at Kohorst Field.
“I have to give the guys in front of me all the credit because they opened up quite a few huge holes,” said Lacy, who helped the Lancers improve to 2-0. “I saw those holes and busted right through.
“I liked the way we were able to come out strong and we were fighting from the beginning. We went out there and made things work.”
It wasn’t quite the debut Glendale first-year Coach John Tuttle envisioned, though he and the Nitros are still getting acclimated to one another.
At least Glendale (0-1) managed to score against La Salle’s stingy defense, which paved the way for a convincing 27-0 season-opening victory against visiting Temple City on Aug. 24.
“La Salle has some very good athletes and they get off the ball very well,” Tuttle said. “They got those two kickoff returns for touchdowns and it hurt.”
La Salle, which has already doubled its win total from last season, scored on its first two possessions. Quarterback Austin Wallis scored on a 17-yard run to make it 6-0 with 8:01 left in the first quarter. Lacy then scored on a 22-yard run down the left side to extend the Lancers’ advantage to 12-0 on the final play of the opening quarter.
The Nitros trimmed the deficit to 12-6 with 11:27 remaining in the second quarter on a 91-yard rushing touchdown by senior Michael Davis, a reigning All-Area honoree who will attend Brigham Young University. Davis, the reigning Pacific League champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes fresh off his inaugural appearance at the CIF State Meet, broke free from three tackles and sprinted down the sideline.
“He’s a very good athlete,” La Salle first-year Coach Russell Gordon said.
Glendale barely had enough time to enjoy Davis’ heroics. On the ensuing La Salle possession, running back Amir Evans scored on a 79-yard run to make it 19-6 just 21 seconds later.
A 40-yard field goal by Glendale’s Martin Marin cut the La Salle lead to 19-9 with 4:07 left in the first half.
Lacy went back to work on the ensuing kickoff, as he raced 95 yards untouched to give the Lancers a 25-9 lead.
“I think that play turned things back in our favor,” said Lacy, who has scored five touchdowns this season.
The Lancers closed out the scoring with 59.1 seconds left in the second quarter on a three-yard run by Bobby LaSalle.
Lacy completed his huge performance in style when he took the opening kickoff to begin the second half and ran it back 90 yards for a touchdown to make it 38-9.
La Salle backup quarterback Man Berg tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to uncovered wide receiver Jalen Gray to extend La Salle’s lead to 45-9 with 1:46 remaining in the third quarter.
Glendale closed out the scoring with 8:33 remaining in the contest, when linebacker Daniel Jung intercepted a pass and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown.
Gordon said the Lancers received a huge boost from Lacy, who scored a pair of rushing touchdowns against Temple City.
“He’s just a great athlete,” Gordon said. “He’s got that fantastic straight-away speed, and then he’s got that awesome lateral movement.
“He’s got so much talent. He didn’t get touched either time on those kickoff returns. All in all, I liked the way we were able to share the ball. We need to keep practicing hard and realize we can win.”