La Salle was not the inferior team Friday night. This wasn’t Village Christian beating Azusa in 2010. In that game Azusa was 10-0 and Village Christian was 6-4. However Village was the superior team- stronger league, more physical, faster, etc. The Crusaders were simply better than Azusa and came away with the victory.
That wasn’t the case Friday night at Kohorst Field. The Lancers were 10-0 and Centennial (Compton) was 3-7. But the Apaches weren’t Village Christian. Centennial was not stronger, nor was it more physical. La Salle lost the game but they were the better team.
Then how did the Lancers lose? Well it could have been in the first quarter when they threw an interception in Centennial territory. Or in the second quarter when they inexplicably went for it on fourth and six from their own 22 yard line with a fake punt. They came up short setting up Centennial for its first touchdown.
It was learned later that the punter acted on his own and it wasn’t a designed play, but it still was costly. Or they may have lost it in the third quarter when they tossed another interception.
Despite all of the mistakes, La Salle was still only down two points late in the fourth quarter and after stopping Centennial was set to receive a punt with just under four minutes left in the contest. With the way the night had gone the result was predictable and yes it happened. The Lancers fumbled the punt away and Centennial recovered. Game over.
Well not quite. La Salle stopped Centennial again. The Apaches didn’t have a kicker, at least not an effective one, and they had to go for it on fourth down every time they were stopped in the red zone.
La Salle took over at its own 13 with 1:24 left. I mean if the Lancers make one big play, just one, they win the game. They made at least four or five every game during the regular season.
They marched quickly down the field to the Centennial 15 to set up a 32 yard field goal. Right as they prepared to snap the ball, there’s a whistle. Of course, a five-yard penalty on La Salle moving the ball back to the 20 and the kick to 37 yards. They had the kicker to do it. Chris Rabine had already booted a 39 yarder as the first half ended. But on this night there would be no big play. This night was destined to be only agony and despair for the La Salle faithful. The kick was blocked touching off a Centennial celebration.
La Salle had a great year- a memorable season. Remember, the Lancers were 1-9 last year. However this one will sting for awhile because they didn’t lose to a better team. The final score indicated otherwise but the Lancers were superior – on any other night except November 9.
Even La Salle Coach Russell Gordon had trouble putting the loss into words when a reporter asked him “What was the difference tonight?”
“Uh, that’s a great question. We’ll look a the film and let you know,” he said. Again the reporter persisted. “No really what was the difference?”
“I’m going to leave it at that.” Gordon said.
Rams Season Ends in Lancaster
Temple City had to make the long trek up to Lancaster last Friday night to take on Paraclete. And it was even longer and colder on the way home when the Rams were saddled with a 49-7 defeat at the hands of the Spirits. Temple City RB/LB Chris Reed was knocked out of the game with an injury and sent to Antelope Valley Hospital. The good news is he was feeling better and resting comfortably Sunday.
“He is doing good. It was a bad neck strain,” said Christine Reed, Chris’ mom. “Overall I think Chris and the team had a great year,” she said.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at email@example.com.