By Duane Barker
(El Monte, CA) The Arroyo Knights’ 2022 season came to an end Friday night at BL Bergstrom Stadium with a 20-17 loss to the Lancaster Eagles. The loss was more bittersweet with the knowledge that it was the last time that defensive coordinator Jim Singiser would be on the sidelines bellowing out words of praise or “encouragement” to Knight football players.
Earlier this year coach Singiser confirmed to us that this was his last year as a coach at Arroyo High School. Singiser was previously the head coach for 17-years prior to stepping down at the end of the 2019 season.
When coach Chuck Leonardis was selected as his replacement, Singiser elected to stay on staff through the transition and work with the defense. This was his third year in that role.
It would be Singiser’s job Friday night to get the Arroyo defense ready to play against a Lancaster offense coming off a 34-8 trouncing of Montebello.
In the first half that is just what the Knights did, shutting out the Eagles 14-0.
Arroyo got on the board first with 3:26 left in the first quarter. Joe Reyes found Jesus Espinoza in the endzone from 13-yards away to cap a 4-play, 39-yard drive. Albert Lopez added the extra point for the 7-0 lead.
The Arroyo defense held steady and turned the Eagle offense away on their second drive forcing a punt.
After the punt the Knights went on a 13 play 64 yard drive that culminated with a 4-yard run by Ismael Ceja. Once again Lopez added the extra point.
The Eagles got the ball to start the second half and went to work right away covering 80-yards on six plays. The biggest of those plays was a 60-yard touchdown run from Lancaster quarterback Cedric SaMarion.
It looked as though SaMarion was going to be hit for a loss, he kept his feet and got to the edge and outraced the Knight defenders. Lancaster went for two and were successful when Ashton Mitchell crossed the goal line from three yards out.
The Eagles tied the score at 14 a piece on their next possession.
Hemed in behind the line of scrimmage, SaMarion let loose of a bomb down the middle of the field that was caught by Kevin Blackman who finished the job into the endzone. This time the two-point conversion failed.
With just under four minutes gone in the final frame, the Knights regained the lead on a 38-yard field goal by Lopez. The field goal came after an Arroyo drive stalled at the Lancaster 21.
The Eagles saw the ball just one more time on offense and took advantage. Mitchell capped a 12-play clock eating drive on a three yard run. The Eagles again went for two and were turned away by the Knights leaving themselves down only three with 1:42 showing on the clock.
Anthony Rivas set the Knights up with decent field position when he returned the ensuing kick off to the Arroyo 33.
Unfortunately all four of Reyes’ pass attempts missed their mark and Arroyo turned the ball over on downs.
From there all Lancaster had to do was take a knee a couple of times to end the Knight’s 2022 season For the rest of us it was a chance to say congratulations to Jim Singiser on a brilliant coaching career that had an impact on countless Arroy alumni.