Quarterback Blake Archuleta of La Puente Bishop Amat insists, “I’m the best slider on the baseball team.”
Then how come he never slides on the football field?
“I just see the sticks and want to get to them,” he said.
Archuleta is the player Bishop Amat turns to when the going gets tough. His competitiveness and athleticism have helped the Lancers to a 5-1 record after a 28-27 victory over West Hills Chaminade on Friday night in a Mission League opener.
He twice rallied the Lancers from deficits of 14-7 and 27-21, using his poise, toughness and leadership skills. He directed a 76-yard game-winning drive that included a nine-yard pass on fourth-and-five to Kyran Hayes. That enabled Kenny Collins to score on a two-yard touchdown run with 4:30 left for the lead.
“The key was staying level-headed when we got down time in the game,” Archuleta said.
Archuleta completed 22 of 31 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. He also had runs of 16 and 14 yards that probably made his mother cringe in the stands because of his refusal to back down.
As far as coach Steve Hagerty is concerned, Archuleta has been the best quarterback on the field in all six games this season, including against Santa Ana Mater Dei.
“He gets hit and is on the ground a lot and pulls himself back up,” Hagerty said.
The win makes Bishop Amat the clear favorite in the Mission League. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame upset Gardena Serra 38-7, and Mission Hills Alemany defeated Loyola 34-8 in other openers.
The Lancers sacked Chaminade quarterback Ryan Stevens four times, with Ethan Rodriguez and Elijah Ponder each contributing two sacks.
Chaminade (2-4) got 137 yards rushing from Alex Okuribido, but the Eagles failed to respond after falling behind in the fourth quarter.
Bishop Amat has 42 seniors on its roster, giving the Lancers the kind of depth and experience to play well in Division 1.
The game did not start well for Chaminade. A bad punt snap gave Bishop Amat the ball on the five. Deven Jarvis soon caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Archuleta.
Chaminade tied the score on a three-yard touchdown run by John Burton. Okuribido’s one-yard plunge put the Eagles on top 14-7. On fourth down, Bishop Amat tied the score when Collins ran 30 yards for a touchdown on a pitch play. Archuleta gave Bishop Amat a 21-14 halftime lead when he connected with Hayes on a five-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left.
Chaminade tied the score to open the third on a Burton three-yard run. Chris Rankins put the Eagles up 27-21 with 8:52 left on a one-yard run.