By Tim Peterson
(Covina) – Damien led by 13 at the half and then broke it open in the third quarter and went on to shut out Charter Oak 35-0 Friday night at Lou Farrar Stadium.
The Spartans defense did bend at times but never broke as they held the Chargers scoreless. They intercepted Charter Oak quarterback Corin Berry in the second half and also blocked two field goal attempts in the first half.
Offensively Ayden Gutierrez had a big night for Damien scoring on a four-yard touchdown run and hauling in a 30-yard touchdown pass. Both scores came in the second half.
Gutierrez also got the Spartans off and running right out of the chute. He took the opening kickoff back 88 yards for a touchdown. It turned out to be the only score the Spartans needed.
Later in the first quarter on the Spartans first official possession, they drove 78 yards on 14 plays with Isaiah Arriaza scoring on a one-yard keeper. The extra point attempt was blocked leaving Damien up 13-0.
The score stayed that way until halftime. Legend Lyons picked off a pass for Charter Oak late in the second half setting up the Chargers at the Damien 25. But the Spartans blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt as the first half clock expired.
It was all Damien in the second half. Gutierrez scored on a four-yard run to cap a 53-yard drive with 4:42 left in the third quarter. Arriaza hit Caden Arrellano on a pass for the two-point conversion to make it 21-0.
Just over three minutes later Jordan Young raced in from six yards out and the rout was on at 28-0.
The Spartans put some icing on the cake in the fourth quarter when Gutierrez made a leaping catch in the endzone off of a 30-yard strike from Arriaza with 7:30 left to make it 35-0 and set off the running clock.
Elijah Bechtel had a big interception for the Spartans in the second half that led to a touchdown. He also caught six passes for 49 yards. Arriaza threw for 135 yards overall and ran for 18 yards and a touchdown on four carries.
Gutierrez ran for 34, caught one for a score and had the big 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
The Chargers never established a rhythm offensively. Berry threw for just 89 yards.
Damien remained perfect at 5-0 with the victory while the Chargers fell to 1-4.