By Corey Kwok
(Citrus College) – The annual “Clash for the Canyon” lived up to its billing as Azusa knocked off Gladstone 14-7 in a defensive battle Thursday night at Citrus College in Montview League action.
The first half featured five fumbles, two sacks, and a field-wide lighting malfunction that postponed action for just under a half hour.
It didn’t distract quarterback Paul Flores (11-24, 110 yards and a touchdown) from airing the Gladiators to a 7-3 lead as he finished off a 10 play, 84 yard drive with an 11 yard go-ahead strike to Joseph Herrera three minutes into the second period. Herrera had helped ease the pressure off Gladstone’s offense on the series’ first play when he shook loose for a 20 yard gain.
Azusa (7-1, 4-0 Montview) forged from its own 28 to the Gladstone three only to flip it away as Flores came away with the recovery in the Aztec endzone for a touchback. The Aztecs then quickly enticed the Gladiators into punting with 21 seconds to go in the half, only to cough it up on an incomplete pass and 15 seconds later.
Gladstone (5-2, 2-1 Montview), taking possession on the Aztec 39 with six seconds left on the clock, pulled out an incredible triple reverse, backward flip and pass play in an attempt to score before the half concluded. Azusa’s defenders were scattered out enough to allow Flores a huge pocket to work from as he found Herrera in an open lane for a 27 yard gain, stopped 12 yards shy of a score.
Coming off a set ending in fourth down turnovers and an interception of a Flores pass, the Aztecs settled for another Jose Nunez field goal 2:08 to go in the third after having inched up close again, and the Gladiators clung to a 7-6 lead after three.
Though aided by a pass-interference and face mask penalty, Azusa had an 84 yard trek of its own crest in what became the game winning touchdown on the eleventh play as Steven Blount scored from six feet out, then ran in the two point conversion. The 14-7 score in favor of the Aztecs would stand for the next eight minutes as Gladstone punted on two of its next three possessions.
The Gladiators ultimately did itself in with a fumbled snap on fourth down as Aztec mean man Andrew Rocha pulled down Dyllan Duenas eight yards behind a fourth and six to ice it.
Aztec quarterback John Chavez, playing both ways for the entire game, aired it out for 123 yards completing 10 of 25 passes and also had 20 carries for a game leading 63 yards on the ground. He also picked off a pass for Azusa’s defense that held Gladstone well under the minus meter in rushing yardage.
The Aztecs hit the road next Friday for what is to be an expected “tune up” outing at Duarte. Gladstone meanwhile stays home to square off against Workman.
A 3 0 3 8 – 14
G 0 7 0 0 – 7
(Azusa 5:06 3-0) Jose Nunez 31yd FG
(Gladstone 9:00 6-3/7-3) Paul Flores 11yd TD pass to Joseph Herrera/Javier Palomino XPT
(Azusa 2:08 6-7) Nunez 28yd FG
(Azusa 8:04 12-7/14-7) Steven Blount 2yd TD run/Blount 2pt conversion run
A: John Chavez 10-25-123yds; Jacob Martinez 0-1
G: Flores 11-24-110yds-1 TD-1 INT; Dyllan Duenas 1-1-3yds
A: James Figueroa 2-39; Nunez 3-31; Bryan Nieto 1-19; Abraham Ochoa 2-17; Frankie Felix 1-12; Blount 1-5
G: Herrera 2-38-1 TD; Jesse Rodriguez 5-34; David Gomez 1-18; Duenas 2-14; Andres Uribe 1-6; Ricky Navarrete 1-3
A (48-187): Chavez 20-63; Blount 8-52-1 TD; Kendrec McDade 13-46; Martinez 6-24; Nunez 1-2
G: (25 for -27): Herrera 8-5; Jhossep Juarez 3-5; Gomez 1-0; Duenas 3(-11); Flores 10(-26)
Leave a Reply