La Cañada High was off to its best start in football in years and looked to keep that positive momentum going as it hosted Viewpoint.
La Cañada indeed kept things rolling, as the Spartans pulled away in the second half to record a 35-6 victory over the visiting Patriots on Friday to stay unbeaten.
“We are a physical team and I’m really proud of our boys. We were all united,” La Cañada coach Jason Sarceda said. “Our goal was to go 1-0 this week and we got it done.”
With the victory, La Cañada has started a season 3-0 for the first time since 2014, which, notably, is the last time the Spartans reached the postseason.
If the Spartans gave out a game ball, it most certainly would have gone to Jacob Hardy. The junior rushed for a game-high 81 yards in 14 carries, including two touchdowns. Moving from his regular spot at linebacker to defensive end, he also recorded three sacks.
“We were looking for a win and we were hungry. We had to do what we had to do,” Hardy said.
La Cañada held a 13-6 advantage at halftime, but would outscore Viewpoint (0-3), 22-0, in the second half, with 15 of those points coming in the pivotal third quarter.
The third-quarter success for the Spartans started on the hosts’ second punt of the stanza. Andy Kozanian sent a booming punt down the field, which took a massive bounce in favor of the Spartans. However, the punt looked destined for the end zone, until Walker Baggett hustled down the field and batted the ball back so his teammates could down it at the 4-yard line.
Four plays, later La Cañada scored the first points after halftime when Viewpoint’s snap back to the punter sailed out of the end zone for a safety.
The floodgates then opened for La Cañada. The Spartans took the ensuing kickoff and marched 37 yards for a touchdown. The bulk of the yards came on the scoring play when Jacob Hardy ran the ball left on third down. The junior looked to be stopped at the line, but kept chugging and found himself in the end zone 32 yards later.
“It’s real simple; sometimes you black out and end up in the end zone,” Hardy said. “It’s not me, it’s something other, I can’t explain. You just feel good and you wake up in the end zone.”
The Spartans then held the Patriots without a first down and were gifted a short field on the punt when a Patriot tackled the return-man, who signaled a fair catch. Soon after, quarterback Brandon Reese lofted a play-action pass that looked like it would be picked off, only to find the hands of Baggett for a 21-yard touchdown and a 28-6 lead the hosts would carry into the fourth quarter.
“It was supposed to be a slant, but I ran a go instead,” Baggett said of the touchdown. “It ended up working out, [although] I did get chewed out on the sideline.”
Baggett finished with three catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
The final touchdown of the contest came with 6:39 left. On a one-play drive, Reese tossed a short-play out to the right, which was caught by Dezin Delgatty, who streaked down the sideline for a 65-yard score.
Delgatty led all receivers in yardage with three catches for 90 yards.
Reese was nine of 19 for 174 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
“It was incredible. We had to go all out,” Reese said. “We had to limit our mistakes. We had a lot that cost us in the first half and we had to fix that and come together.”
The Spartans’ defense was solid, which included seven sacks and an interception by Mario Colon. La Cañada has yielded just 23 points in its three games thus far.
The first points of the contest came in the second quarter. With 11:05 to go, La Cañada finished off a rushing-centric 42-yard drive with a Hardy touchdown. The junior ran the ball left for a five-yard score.
The Spartans stoked the advantage with a one-play drive. Reese threw a 45-yard strike to Baggett, who had worked his way behind the defense in the middle of the field.
Viewpoint, which had to use three quarterbacks due to injuries, got its only points of the game with 59 seconds to go in the first half. The drive featured a myriad of Spartans’ penalties, including two personal fouls and one pass interference just outside the red zone. The Patriots finished it off with a 16-yard scoring pass from backup quarterback Peter Boehm to Kai Yamasaki.
Up next for the undefeated Spartans is a road game at Fillmore on Friday.
“We are always focusing on the next team,” Hardy said. “The past doesn’t matter. It’s always the future, and that is something we strive for at La Cañada.”
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