La Mirada Starts Slow, Finishes Fast

Elijhaa Penny had 174 of Norwalk's 454 yards rushing, but it wasn't enough

(La Mirada) – How do you rack up over 450 yards rushing and still lose? That’s what Norwalk Coach Jesse Ceniceros is probably asking himself after Friday night’s game with La Mirada. But that’s exactly what happened in a 40-29 Lancers loss to the Matadores in Suburban League play.

Norwalk used some of those yards to jump out to a 17-0 lead on La Mirada  with just over five minutes left in the second quarter. But La Mirada scored 27 consecutive points in the second and third quarters to grab a ten point lead and never looked back.

“The same thing happened last year,” said La Mirada Coach Mike Moschetti. “We were down 27-6 at one point and came back to win. We played about as bad as we could play on offense early in the first half. But we just kept playing one play at a time and we were able to come back.”

A 65 yard run by Billy Moore in the first quarter and three yard run by Moore set up by a 55 yard jaunt by Elijhaa Penny in the second propelled Norwalk to the 17 point advantage.

But La Mirada pieced together a 74 yard drive late in the second to cut the lead to 17-6. It appeared that the half would end that way when La Mirada came up with a huge play just before the break. Shane Blood hit Anthony Diaz on a corner route for a 54 yard touchdown pass with four seconds left in the quarter. Instead of 17-6, it’s 17-13 and it’s a new ball game.

“That was a huge play by Diaz,” Moschetti said. “It got us going.”

“It was a momentum changer, no doubt. What are you going to do?” said Ceniceros.

Then La Mirada hit Norwalk with two more big plays in the second qaurter. After Norwalk was stopped and forced to punt, Reuben Poncedeleon fielded the boot and navigated his way 63 yards for a score to put the Mats on top.

On the next La Mirada possession, lightning struck again. on the first play from scrimmage, Max Gama found a hole at the line, broke into the secondary and went 76 yards for a touchdown. Just like that it was 27-17 La Mirada.

Norwalk battled back but could never regain the lead. Andre Thompson scored on touchdown runs of 25 and 35 yards in the fourth quarter. But for every Norwalk jab there was a counter punch by La Mirada.

Aaryn Bouzos caught a 23 yard strike from Blood and after a failed Norwalk onside kick attempt, Gama got loose again for a 45 yard score to ice it with 1:34 left.

For Norwalk, Penny had 21 carries for 174 yards, Moore 20 for 124 and two touchdowns while Thompson rushed for 117 yards on 11 carries.

Blood was 12 for 19 for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns with Diaz catching five for 108 yards and a score.

With the victory and only a date with Bellflower left, La Mirada clinched the Suburban League crown with a 5-0 record. The Matadores are 6-3 overall. Norwalk is 3-2 and 5-4.

“Sure thats’s nice to win the Suburban League but we’re just taking it one play at  time, one game at time. We’re going to get ready for Bellflower,” Moschetti added.

N     10  7  0 12           29

LM    0  13  14  13       40


1st Qtr:

N 6:27 Luis Cortez 29 yd FG 

N :00 Moore 65 yd run (Cortez Kick)

2nd Qtr:

N 5:12 Moore 3 yd run (Cortez Kick)

LM 2:12 Blood 12 yd run (Kick Failed)

LM :04 Diaz 54 yd pass from Blood (Otero Kick)

3rd Qtr:

LM 8:29 Poncedeleon 63 yd punt ret. (Otero Kick)

LM 3:30 Gama 76 yd run (Otero Kick)

4th Qtr: 

N 8:51 Thompson 25 yd run (Kick Blocked)

LM 3:38 Bouzos 23 yd pass from Blood (Kick Failed)

N 1:44 Thompson 35 yd run (Kick Failed)

LM 1:34 Gama 45 yd run (Otero Kick)   


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