La Cañada High football can't slow down San Marino

SAN MARINO — The La Cañada High football team was one of three squads to begin Rio Hondo League play with a victory last week, joining San Marino and the Monrovia. Those two schools, both ranked in the top four of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division, were also the Spartans’ next two opponents.

First up came the Titans, who hosted the Spartans on Friday night with both looking to stay perfect in league. However, San Marino, ranked No. 4 in the division, blew the game open in the second half en route to a 55-7 victory in which the Titans scored every time they had the ball on offense.

“[The Titans] are loaded on that side. San Marino is a good football team,” La Cañada Coach James Sims said. “But we didn’t even give ourselves a chance. We came out in the second half and did not give ourselves one chance. So we’ve got to go back to the drawing board.”

La Cañada (3-4, 1-1) kept the game close in the first half, trailing by just two touchdowns. The Spartans used a run-based attack and gutsy play calling to keep the ball away from the Titans, who did score on each of their three first-half possessions, to go into the break up, 21-7.

With 1:02 left in the second quarter, La Cañada, with the ball at its own two-yard line, lined up to punt on fourth down. Punter Michael Selsor, who earlier in the quarter had thrown an incomplete pass on a fake punt, stood at the back of the end zone. The snap sailed back to Selsor and the fake was on again. The sophomore threw a 24-yard completion to Trent Bauer for the surprise first down. The move did not end in points, but denied the hosts the chance to score again, meaning a 14-point game at the break.

“I knew where we were and the tempo of the game and that if we gave the ball back to San Marino they were going to score to go up 28-7 and really deflate us,” Sims said. “I knew they were going to send the house to block it. Some big cojones, right?”

By way of the completion to Bauer, Selsor came out of the first half as his team’s leading passer. Then, in the second half, Selsor took over at quarterback for senior Robbie Fuelling. Selsor’s first possession in the position was a rough one. It started with a sack and ended without a first down and a punt by the sophomore from the Spartans’ end zone.

The Spartans’ second possession of the second half ended with Selsor being picked off by Tyler Spitzer. Their third ended with a turnover on downs and their fourth another Selsor interception that was returned 35 yards by Titan Will Cobb for the game’s final touchdown as part of a 20-point fourth quarter by the hosts. Fuelling (one for eight, with one interception) came back in to mop up for Selsor, who finished five of 14 for 51 yards and the two interceptions.

“Definitely something I can take forward for further games and next year,” Selsor said of his experience against the Titans.

San Marino (6-1, 2-0) got a spectacular effort from its quarterback, Andrew Ferraco. The senior was perfect through the air, going 11 for 11 for 174 yards and three touchdowns. Ferraco also carried the ball a game-high 17 times for 89 yards and two more scores. Tenny MacFarlane accounted for the Titans’ other two touchdowns on the ground as part of a 114-yard night on 14 carries.

The bulk of La Cañada’s offense came in the first half from running back Jadon Henry. The senior broke through the right side of the line on the game’s first snap for a 40-yard gain. In the second quarter he broke through the right side again and sprinted for a 53-yard touchdown run with 7:55 left in the second quarter. Henry had 103 yards rushing yards in the first half before finishing with 99 yards on eight carries.

“They’ve got some people over there,” San Marino Coach Mike Hobbie said. “Just like you saw [Henry] squirt through and he’s gone. They’ve got plenty of speed on that team.”

Next up for the Spartans is a game at home hosting perennial league powerhouse Monrovia, which entered the week with the top spot in the Mid-Valley rankings.

“These are all my sons,” Sims said of his squad. “I’ve got to find a way to get their spirits back up. Monrovia next week and we’re still in the hunt.”

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