LOS ANGELES — The La Cañada Gladiators gremlins football team used a potent rushing attack to claim the San Gabriel Valley Junior All-American Football Conference championship over the Glendale Bears Saturday at Occidental College’s Jack Kemp Stadium.
Daylon Beasley led the Gladiators with 258 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries to pace La Cañada in its 45-13 victory.
La Cañada’s relentless defense was able to complement the offense, as it held Glendale to 132 total yards of offense and forced three turnovers.
“Great win,” said Gladiators Coach Jeremy Cisneros, who coached the Gladiators to an undefeated season at 10-0. “We had a lot of returning players and we’ve been fighting all season to get here.
“Beasley had a helluva game,” Cisneros added, while also praising Matthew Watson (30-yard touchdown run and an interception returned for a touchdown), Tiny Sharman (55 yards rushing, including a 37-yard score) and Jona Cisneros.
Beasley’s counterpart on the day, Jaceon Doss, compiled 132 yards on nine carries and accounted for both of Glendale’s touchdowns, which came in a two-minute stretch in the second quarter. Doss and the Bears took advantage of an excessive celebration penalty after Beasley’s second touchdown and needed just one play to get on the scoreboard and cut the Gladiators’ lead down to 21-7.
A fumble on the ensuing drive gave Glendale the ball in La Cañada territory again and Doss responded once more with an impressive 48-yard run, during which he broke multiple tackles in the backfield before dashing toward the end zone to bring the Bears within one score.
Glendale wouldn’t score thereafter; however, as La Cañada’s defense made the necessary adjustments, particularly in the second half when it gave up a meager 10 total yards in the final 20 minutes while its offense sealed the game with 24 answered points.
Trailing, 21-13, Glendale hurt itself with an offsides penalty on a fourth down play that gave La Cañada a first and goal. Beasley capitalized with his third touchdown of the day, putting the Gladiators back up by two scores at 27-13.
The teams traded fumbles to start the second half, but neither could capitalize on the ensuing possession. A turnover-on-downs from Glendale’s offense gave the Gladiators the ball 24 yards shy of a touchdown. Beasley’s three-yard score capped off a five-play drive with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter.
The Gladiators added two more touchdowns — one from each side of the ball — in the final 2:08 of regulation. Sharman’s 33-yard dash preceded Watson’s pick-six. Watson’s 30-yard touchdown earlier in the contest came with nine seconds elapsed in the second quarter.
“They came out strong and disciplined,” Bears Coach Juan Monzon said. “Overall, I’m happy with the game and the fact that we got a chance to play all our kids. The better team won.
“We had a great season, going from last place to second place. I’m proud of the kids. We’ll see them again in junior pee wee. We’ll be back.”
Beasley, who was in high demand for photographs after the game, found time to give credit to his teammates.
“I give thanks to my offensive line,” he said. “We played great.”