LA CAÑADA —For the second consecutive week, the La Cañada High football team was bested by an evidently superior league opponent.
One week after falling to San Marino, the Spartans did little to prevent a 77-0 loss to the visiting Monrovia Wildcats Thursday night, suffering their largest defeat of the season.
La Cañada couldn’t muster anything on offense, managing 105 yards while its defense was overwhelmed by Monrovia’s running game that totaled 221 yards. Moreover, seven turnovers and multiple blunders on special teams didn’t help a La Cañada squad that fell to 3-5 and 1-3 in the Rio Hondo League.
“We knew it would be tough,” said Spartans Coach James Sims, whose squad has been outscored, 132-7, in its last two games. “We were just outmatched. But I give credit to our guys for their heart and will.”
Monrovia (7-1, 3-0) entered the game ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley rankings and was led by Division I recruits Deshawn Potts and Kurt Scoby. The latter carried the ball seven times for 45 yards and three first-half touchdowns.
Potts, the Wildcats starting quarterback, ran for a touchdown and threw an 18-yard touchdown pass — both in the second quarter. He led the team with 80 rushing yards on five carries.
The Spartans surrendered a total of 56 points in the first half, 28 in a first quarter that was sparked by Monrovia blocking a punt and taking it in for the game’s first score. A pair of three-yard touchdown runs from Scoby preceded the most effective drive for La Cañada.
Trailing, 21-0, Spartans running back Donnie Breneman sprinted for 46 of his team-high 59 yards and put La Cañada in Monrovia territory for the first time. The ensuing three carries for Breneman resulted in two yards, leading to a pass play that went the other way, with Dariyan Huff intercepting Robbie Fuelling deep in Wildcats territory and taking it back for another Monrovia touchdown.
Monrovia needed nine plays to score 28 second-quarter points, as La Cañada’s special teams committed two costly errors leading to 14 points. The teams went into halftime with the game out of reach in favor of the Wildcats, who led, 56-0.
“I told the guys at halftime, a couple of their guys are Division I players so try to make a play on them and let it be something I can show on video,” Sims said.
Mercifully, however, Wildcats Coach Ryan Maddox didn’t play his starters in the second half. With a running clock throughout the fourth quarter, and three more turnovers, the Spartans were only able to run 11 plays in the second half.
Monrovia’s Kameron Johnson killed the clock and ran for a team-high 10 carries in the process. The sophomore tallied 64 yards and scored two of the three touchdowns in the 24-minute stretch.
Similarly to last week, Sims gave backup quarterback Michael Selsor some reps. The sophomore completed four of 11 passes for 41 yards. Neither team focused on the passing game and combined for 22 attempts.
Sam Brown, Trent Bauer and Todd Murray recorded receptions in the losing effort.
“I feel better about this one,” Sims said. “San Marino, we just didn’t play. Here, we’re just outmatched at every position.”
With two games remaining, La Cañada will gladly put the toughest part of its schedule behind it and look to defeat South Pasadena and Temple City — two teams fighting with the Spartans for third place in league and a possible playoff bid.
La Cañada will travel to South Pasadena before hosting Temple City to close out the regular season.
“We’re very capable,” said Sims, who is looking to improve on last season’s 1-4 league campaign. “We have an opportunity. They’re not going to be easy but it’s not going to be this type of game, going to be more in our competition level.
“We just gotta get out there, play our best football and mistake free.”