It was perhaps an ideal time to see Blair High on the schedule.
Playing without starters for disciplinary reasons or injuries and with two crucial games with playoff implications on the horizon to close out the season, a victory over a winless Blair team that the La Cañada football team had defeated seven consecutive times was arguably just what coach Ryan Zerbel’s team needed.
Expectedly, the Spartans had no trouble getting past the Vikings. Needing to win one of the final two games of the season to secure a playoff spot, La Cañada was able to let loose at home on Thursday night, prevailing, 53-0, to get back to the .500 mark this season.
“It was a good opportunity for a lot of guys to play,” Zerbel said. “We came out, focused, wanted to take care of things early to let guys that usually don’t get opportunities get opportunities. A lot of guys scored, carried the ball that normally don’t and supported their teammates.”
Six players scored touchdowns for the Spartans (4-4, 2-1), with Ryan Brenemen getting three in the first quarter. The senior finished with 108 rushing yards in nine carries — all in the first half before letting back-up players get the carries in a game that was all but decided.
Theo Chamberlain, David Yoon, Charlie Weiss, David Chei and Christopher Han also found the end zone.
“I’ve never cheered harder than when David Chei scored,” said Brenemen of his teammate’s 13-yard touchdown in the second quarter. “He has so much heart and he works so hard. It just shows that dreams do come true.”
Brenemen wasted little time in deciding the eventual outcome with three first-quarter touchdowns, including the game’s first score midway through the frame. Brenemen, aided by a Han block, scored on a 10-yard run to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead.
Two minutes later, his seven-yarder increased the cushion to 13-0.
A bad snap from Blair 24 seconds later allowed Chamberlain to recover the ball in the end zone for another La Cañada touchdown.
With less than a minute remaining in the opening quarter, Brenemen dashed for a 51-yard touchdown, giving the Spartans a 26-0 advantage.
On La Cañada’s next possession, Brenemen had a 83-yard touchdown nullified due to offsetting penalties, but David Yoon’s 98-yard sprint on the next play would not be called back, as the Spartans continued to pour it on with 6:55 remaining in the second quarter.
Weiss and Chei both scored their first touchdowns of the season to close out the half, much to the team’s delight.
Han’s six-yard touchdown would be the lone score of the second half.
La Canada’s defense and special teams were solid for the second consecutive week, recovering four fumbles and blocking a punt.
“We’re in position to win one of the last two games,” Zerbel said.
The first-year coach said the players not suited for non-injury reasons violated team rules but said they will be back next week at San Marino.
“This was our last game to have fun,” Ryan Brenemen said. “Next two games are going to be back to business and we’re going to work hard.”