(La Canada) – A week after only mustering up six points against Mountain View on Friday night, Alhambra managed just one touchdown in a 17-7 loss to La Canada in a Mid Valley Division pre-season game on Thursday Night. Andy Paynter’s one-yard dive with 31 seconds remaining in the half was the difference for the Spartans as its defense managed to keep the struggling Moors offense out of the end zone in the second half.
In a flag-filled game, James Sims debut came off with virtually no hitch as his misdirection running attack sliced through a Moors defense front-seven that is still looking for an identity.
With no scrimmage prior to its first game, the Spartans offense looked crisp early with a steady dose of Paynter and Matt Owens grinding out yardage in the game’s first offensive possession. If Sims game plan consisted of eight straight running plays to begin the game, then he accomplished the goal set forth as La Canada got to the Alhambra 12-yard line before attempting its first pass of the game.
Matt Jones’s first pass attempt was pin-point accurate to Todd Murray for a 12-yard strike that opened the scoring.
With its offense sputtering early, the Moors relied on its defense early in the first quarter. It held up its end of the bargain by stopping the Spartans on its next possession.
Ezra Broadus who saw limited touches in the second half of its loss against Mountain View, helped spark the offense at the end of the first quarter with a strong 58-yard run to set up Alhambra’s offense inside the Spartans three-yard line.
One play later, Armanda Amaya pushed his way through the line to score from three-yards out to tie the game at seven.
It would end up being the only bright spot for the Moors, which struggled the remainder of the game with ill-timed penalties and turnovers that killed drives inside La Canada territory in the second half.
La Canada’s offense stuttered and stalled in the second half as well as it cost itself a golden opportunity with a first and goal at the five with costly penalties that included an ejection.
The Spartans did manage a Mario Del Cueto 31-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter that resulted in much needed breathing room.
After falling to 0-2, Alhambra will now face another Mid Valley Division foe in Temple City still searching for its first win under Joe Kanach.