By Tim Peterson
(San Dimas) – San Dimas head coach Mark Holman urged his troops to “throw the first punch” in his pre-game speech. The Saints did that early and eventually threw the knockout blow in a 49-14 rout of Whittier Friday night.
The Cardinals were 2-0 coming in but were no match for the Saints who scored in their first possession and rolled from there. San Dimas did what San Dimas typically does – piles up yards on the ground and wears down the opposing defense and mixes in a big pass now and then. The Saints had 217 yards and four touchdowns rushing and 122 yards and a pair of scores through the air.
After a short punt Matt Sloan scored on a 12-yard run to cap a 30-yard drive on the Saints first possession for a 7-0 lead. San Dimas had indeed thrown the first punch. 17 seconds later, on Whittier’s first play from scrimmage Chris Nageer scooped up a Cardinal fumble and rumbled 12 yards for a score and before the seats were warm it was 14-0.
Whitter answered with a 12-play, 76-yard drive that Angel Ruiz finished with a four-yard run to make it 14-7 with 2:20 left in the first quarter. The Saints then ripped off the next 35 points to bury the Cards.
Sloan, who scored two on the ground and also hauled in a touchdown pass, scored on a five-yard run early in the second that culminated a 69-yard drive for a 21-7 lead. The Saints found the endzone twice more before the half on a five-yard swing pass from Dylan O’leary to Keniko Parham and another big play by Sloan.
O’Leary stepped back in the pocket and found a wide open Sloan running down the middle. He hauled it in and raced into the endzone for a 35-7 lead with 48 ticks left in the first half. That was the knockout blow.
The Cardinals kept trying to get off the mat but were leveled every time – either by a Jacob Buccola six-yard romp to paydirt in the third quarter or the final punch – a four -yard TD rush by Austin Rivera early in the fourth quarter.
Whittier managed to break through once more after Buccola scored – on a 15-yard touchdown strike from JC Lopez to Ruiz with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter.
O’leary completed 5 of 10 passes for 122 yards and the two scores for San Dimas. Buccola had 72 yards to lead the San Dimas rushing attack and Kyler Moreli ran for 69 yards.
Lopez completed 13 of 25 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown for Whittier but the Cardinals never could establish a consistent offensive attack.
San Dimas improved to 2-0 with the win while Whittier fell to 2-1.
Next up for San Dimas is the annual matchup with Bonita Saturday night at Covina District Field in the Smudgepot.
“I like our guys. I’m not worried about their guys, I just like they way our guys are playing,” Holman said of the showdown with Bonita. “But it will be a war no doubt.”
Whittier will take on Portola (Irvine) at home.