By Duane Barker
The Baldwin Park Braves hosted the South El Monte Eagles Friday night and were less than gracious hosts scoring through the air and on the ground dropping a 55-20 trouncing on the Eagles to the delight of the Brave faithful.
The Braves got on the board first with 7:58 to play in the first quarter. A 10-play 65-yard drive was capped by a 28-yard pass from Drew Knight to Tec Nunez. Erick Gonzalez added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
The evening had a little bit of irony as Baldwin Park has a new staff member assisting Ibis Aguilar this season. The name and face are very familiar to South El Monte. None other than Eric Escamilla who has returned to the coaching ranks. Aguilar was on Escamilla’s staff when Escamilla was the head coach at South El Monte.
The Eagles came back to tie the game in the second quarter on a six yard run by Michael Valencia. The score was set up by a Knight fumble at his own 26 that was recovered by South El Monte.
Baldwin Park pushed their advantage back to 14-7 with just under 7:00 left to play in the first half. Knight made up for the previous miscue calling his own number from 2-yards out.
Four minutes later the Braves were in the endzone again when Knight found Isaiah Ariza on a 27-yard catch and run to paydirt. Gonzalez who missed the previous extra point was good on this one for the 20-7 lead.
With 1:36 left in the second the Eagles found some lightning when Christopher Vasquez got open for a 45-yard pass from Matthew Medina. Vasquez got open and out raced the Braves defense for the score. After the long run Vasquez missed the extra point.
Baldwin Park only needed a minute to get back on the scoreboard. A 61-yard drive was completed with a 13-yard strike from Knight to Caleb Calvin. With :33 left in the half the Braves led 26-13.
Lightning struck again in the form of Vasquez for the Eagles as he fielded the ensuing kickoff at his own 25, got to the edge and turned on the jets to glory. This time he made the extra point and South trailed by six.
With only :21 left to play in the second, the Braves could have just sat on the lead and take their advantage into the locker room for the half. Instead they marched down the field in four plays with Knight finding Nunez again this time from 13-yards away. Knight proceeded then to find Calving in the back of the endzone to complete the two-point conversion.
The second half belonged to the Baldwin Park defense who shut out the Eagles for the entire second half.
On the other side the offense score three more times on runs of 15-yards by Gino Cornejo, and 11-yard run by Corey Lacy and a 68-yard bomb from Robert Lucero to Isaiah Lucero.
On the evening Knight completed 15 of 23 passed for 253-yards and four scores through the air and had one on the ground.
Knight’s counterpart Medina completed 13 of 18 for 192-yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Medina’s favorite receiver was Vasquez who hauled in seven for 125 and a score.
Knight’s big target was Nunez who caught 6 for 129 and two touchdowns.