What a difference a game makes.
The La Cañada High football team came into Friday night's game against Temple City with high expectations, and left with those hopes shattered.
Hopes for another Spartans playoff appearance took a hit after a 27-15 loss to the Rams in a Rio Hondo League game on the road.
The defeat knocks the Spartans record to 2-4, 1-1 in league.
"We are going to have to finish strong to control our own destiny, and they know that," La Cañada Coach Dan Yoder said. "They had a lot invested in this one, and high expectations."
La Cañada's defense was unable to stop Temple City's running attack, as Joshua Simangunsong rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns.
"[Simangunsong] been running all over the place for awhile, he's a very good athlete," Yoder said. "We identified him on film and knew we were going to have to stop him; but we didn't."
It looked like the game would come down to the last play, as both teams answered back when the other put points on the board.
The Rams scored on their first drive of the game. Simangunsong broke a 34-yard run to La Cañada's 5-yard line. Mikal Quintanilla, Temple City's quarterback, finished off the drive, punching the ball into the end zone on a keeper from one yard out, giving his team a 7-0 lead right out of the gate.
Four plays later, La Cañada trimmed the deficit when Daleep Sandhu took a handoff and weaved around defenders for a 36-yard touchdown. He finished the game with 86 rushing yards and a touchdown.
A missed extra point kept the Rams on top, 7-6.
Temple City extended the lead to 14-6 on its next drive when Simangunsong got his first rushing touchdown of the game from a yard out.
Spartans quarterback Scott Gray kept it close with a touchdown of his own. Gray faked a handoff, keeping the ball and rumbling into the end zone from 13 yards out, narrowing the score to 14-12 after a failed two-point conversion.
La Cañada was able to take the lead for the first and only time in the game to open the second half. The Spartans drive stalled at Temple City's 11-yard line to start the third quarter. But kicker Franklin Cervenka was able to turn it into points, putting a 28-yard field goal to give his team a 15-14 edge.
The lead didn't last long, as Simangunsong broke two more touchdowns, one for 36 and another from 68 yards out, to seal a 27-15 victory for the Rams.
Although La Cañada's hopes dropped, all isn't lost.
"The goal is still there and that's really the focus of practice, reminding them the goal is still there," Yoder said. "We have three games left and we have to finish strong."