By Tony Solorzano
Covina, CA – Two passing and a rushing touchdown by quarterback Kevin Amezquita lead Gladstone to open their 2012 football season with a 19-10 upset of Northview Thursday night at Covina District Field.
In a game originally scheduled for Friday, the Gladiators (1-0, 0-0) started the game somewhat sluggish at first, which resulted in the Vikings (1-1, 0-0) managing to recover a muffed punt and convert it into a 22-yard field goal by kicker Andres Hernandes with 8:37 left in the first quarter.
Despite the early deficit, the Gladiators responded on the next series thanks to Amezquita, who accounted for all but one of the 66 yards, a short run by Aaron Sanchez, the Gladiators needed to score. Amezquita ran the ball three times and connected on his first five passes, including a 14-yard strike to Christian Arteaga for the score with 4:44 left. However, kicker Eduardo Cortez’ point-after attempt failed, giving the Gladiators the 6-3 lead.
Midway through the second, The Vikings took the lead on a 67-yard run by Javon Taylor with 6:38 left in the half. Gladstone was effectively shut down for the remainder of the half as Northview’s defense forced the Gladiators to punt on their last two possessions, turning the ball over with 11 seconds left in the half.
In the third, Amezquita hit his second touchdown pass on the Gladiators’ second possession of the quarter, hitting Sergio Torres at the goal line for a 34-yard score. However, Cortez missed his second point after attempt, giving the Gladiators a slim 12-10 lead with 3:17 left in the third. In the process of getting the lead back, the Gladiator defense returned the favor the Vikings’ defense laid out in the second, forcing the Vikings to punt both times they held the ball in the quarter.
In the fourth, Gladstone put the game out of reach despite a couple of bizarre penalties. On their first play of their possession, Amezquita hit Chris Ramirez for what should have been a 14-yard pass but a 10-yard penalty only credited them with four yards. Four rushes by Sanchez later, Amezquita hit Ramirez for a 21-yard strike putting the Gladiators inside the Viking red zone, but as he threw, he was hit by Jared Brito. He got shook up on the hit and sat out for one play. After substitute quarterback Josh Aldana pushed the Gladiators inside the Vikings’ 10, Amezquita came back out and after a three-yard sack, broke a tackle on the right side and ran in for the touchdown.
The Gladiators continue their Valle Vista tour as they head to Baldwin Park to take on the Braves while the Vikings will invade the Hacienda Hills to take on the Rowland Raiders