(La Verne, CA) The Damien Spartans had to wait 12-months to try and get some payback for last year’s 7-0 loss to the La Serna Lancers. Oh, what a difference the year made as the Spartans rolled to a 35-21 victory over the Lancers at home on Friday night.
It didn’t take long for the Spartans to get a 7-0 lead. On the first play from scrimmage from their own 40, Isaiah Arriaza found a streaking Ayden Gutierrez down the middle of the field. A few seconds later Gutierrez was in the endzone for the score. Preston Yado came on to boot through the extra point.
Damien held on to their 7-0 lead until a bolt of lightning wearing a #1 jersey tied the score.
Starting at their own one yard line the Lancers only needed two plays to cover the 99-yards
After again of 16 yards La Serna had the ball on their own 17. Owen Long took the hand off and followed his blocking over the left end. Just when it looked like the Spartan defenders had him hemmed in, Long escaped and burst down the sideline and outraced the Damien defenders to paydirt. Michael Lopez came on to add the extra point to knot the game at 7.
With just a couple minutes gone in the second, the Spartans got on the board again.
A Lopez punt was blocked and Aaron Escarcega scooped up the loose ball and scampered his way to the endzone for a touchdown.
The score remained 14-7 until a little over three minutes was left in the first half.
A big hit on Long by the Spartan defense for a fumble that popped up in the air. Isaiah Lucero came down with the loose ball and returned it to the Lancer 32. Four plays later Arriaza found Gutierrez again on a crossing route over the middle and Gutierrez found glory again and the Spartans went to the locker room with a 21-7 lead.
With 7:58 left in the third period the Lancers forced a turnover that led to a score. Elijah Blue Flores II picked off Arriaza at the Damien 34. From there Jayden Northrup hauled in a 34-yard pass from Aiden Leonardo for the score. The point after was blocked but the Lancers cut the lead to eight.
Damien responded to the La Serna score with one of their own. A five play 62-yard drive was capped by a seven-yard pass from Arriaza to Tony Najjar to extend the lead to 28-13.
On the ensuing drive for the Lancers the lead was cut to 28-21 when they completed a four play 80-yard drive with a 66-yard touchdown from Leondaro to Northrup.The Lancers went for two and Leonardo connected with Long for the two points.
That would be as close as La Serna would get as Damien put up another score on a five yard run by Jordan Young.
The Lancers did have another opportunity to cut into the lead but came up short when Leonardo’s pass fell short on fourth and two at the Spartan three yard line.
Damien will open Baseline League play next week when they host Upland. La Serna will open Del Rio League play next week on the road at Whitter.