WEEK SIX FOOTBALL – Bozanic, Brown and Nelson help Valley Christian through Artesia’s defense in a resounding victory – Cerritos Community News
October 6, 2021
By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter
It has been almost 30 years since football teams Artesia High and Valley Christian High came together on the grill, and in any other season that has not been fueled by the ongoing trials of the global pandemic situation, the reunion so expected from last Friday could have been closer. Instead, the host defenders crossed and rounded Artesia’s defense to the tune of 385 yards on 23 carries in a 62-20 conquest that was close for much of the first half.
VC has scored the most points in a game since crushing Olympic League rival Whittier Christian High 67-14 on October 27, 2017, and the Defenders won their fourth straight game, dropping to 4-1 with l league action starting tonight. Artesia went winless in five games, but scored a season-high in points after being limited to just one touchdown in the first four games.
VC last played on September 17 and first-year head coach Kevin McCarthy said his team had rested a lot with lots of short workouts, didn’t install a lot of new things and hadn’t seen too many new things. to do against Artesia, adding that they’ve been doing the same things he’s been doing all season.
One of those things VC has done well this season is throwing the ball and five games in the game Nick Bozanic has scored from 22 yards, a recurring theme for the junior running back. But the Pioneers responded and did something they hadn’t done this season-scoring in the first quarter. Artesia held the ball for 5:17 and capped a fine 10-game run with a 41-yard touchdown run from senior running back Erin Moses. The Pioneers opted for the two-point conversion and failed.
After a 10-yard return from Bruno Caldarella in the kickoff that followed, plus a face mask penalty on Artesia, the Defenders took a 14-6 lead on a score of 39 yards from Bozanic. But Artesia hit back and after forcing VC to kick for the only time in the game, the Pioneers scored 14-13 just over two minutes into the second quarter when senior quarterback K’Len Williams scored on a six-yard run.
The game of chess continued as Bozanic scored his third touchdown in as many runs, this one from five yards and after senior running back John Nelson managed 28-13 in a 53-yard run with 2:04 left in the half, added Bozanic. his fourth score, this time a four-yard run, with 19.2 seconds remaining. He was running for 106 yards on seven carries, all but one in the first half.
“There were, of course, opportunities today that just came to fruition,” McCarthy said. “We didn’t expect Nick to be such a big part of the plan. What we expected was to try and stretch it from row to row and it worked pretty well in the first half. And then put [senior quarterback] Rocco [Caldarella] in the second half was right… we have to lay the groundwork for what we’re going to be for the rest of the year.
“I think we played better,” said Artesia head coach Don Olmstead. “We just made mistakes after mistakes. It’s like we’re keeping the game tight; we played hard for a little while and then when something goes wrong we just put our head between our legs and we don’t play very well. It’s just adversity and we have to be able to fight back when things don’t go our way.
Artesia still felt good about her position when Williams threw a 67-yard shot to second wide receiver Pablo Cruz in the third game of the second half. But VC scored on his next two possessions – a 14-yard run from junior running back Major Brown and a 50-yard run from Nelson, who would lead everyone on the ground with 158 yards in just five carries.
To add insult to injury, Artesia senior punter Adrian Martinez saw a punt blocked by senior defensive lineman Ellis Negron on Artesia’s 47-yard line and as the ball trickled towards the back and into the end zone, Negron picked up the pigskin for a 56-20 lead.
“He’s a big boy and a big player,” said McCarthy. “I don’t know if he knew where the ball was going and when he went to pick it up I think he was trying to get it out of the end zone. So, it was confusing in a lot of ways, but it was a beautiful piece for him.
The final score of the night came early in the fourth quarter when Brown scored from 45 yards immediately after senior cornerback Noah Glonchak knocked out Williams in the second play of the stanza.
“Defensively we weren’t good,” said Olmstead. “We’re going to try to do better and see what we can do differently and go from there.”
Five players combined to rush for those 385 yards on 23 carries, Brown gaining 75 yards on eight touches and Rocco Caldarella adding 33 more yards on two carries. In fact, Olmstead has said he’s concerned about Caldarella, among other things, because the Defenders are known to use three quarters in their games this season. But that night, VC senior quarterback Logan Lemmonier completed two of three passes for 45 yards. Defensively, Rocco Caldarella and junior safety Jack Turnbow each made six and a half tackles while junior Ryan Bouma added six tackles.
Williams completed 10 of 20 passes for 173 yards and gained 43 extra yards on 14 carries while Moses had 85 yards on 15 carries. Cruz caught nine of those passes for 115 yards. Junior linebacker Joshua Peck led Artesia’s defense with four tackles while Moses made three tackles.
“They’re getting better every week, and I think you’ve seen it tonight,” Olmstead said. “Sometimes there were glimpses of very good things while sometimes they just weren’t very good. It’s just the peaks and valleys of our season that accompany every game and every snap. “
“They are leading their attack very well,” said McCarthy. “Their quarterback is obviously a great ole athlete; he’s a dangerous player. [Moses] is a dangerous player and the things they are running, they are working very well.
Now the fun begins for the Defenders as they host league rival Village Christian for their comeback tonight. Village Christian enters the contest undefeated in five games and is led by quarterback Nate Bennett, who completed 74 of 123 passes for 1,304 yards and 20 touchdowns while only being selected twice. Logan Everett leads the rushing game with 92 carries and 776 yards with nine touchdowns while a quartet of receivers caught at least 10 passes — Sam Faulkner (27 receptions, 338 yards, six touchdowns), Julius Oliver (17 receptions, 327 yards, four touchdowns), Rhett Gordon (10 receptions, 250 yards, five touchdowns) and Evan Clarizo (10 receptions, 215 yards, four touchdowns). Village Christian has also kicked six times.
Defensively, the Crusaders have 14½ sacks, led by Andrew Huezo’s seven and a half and nine interceptions by seven different players. In order for a win, McCarthy said defenders need to tighten up some things in defense as they made glaring mistakes against Artesia. Offensively, he said if his team can do what they do so well, the game against Village Christian should be fun.
“In my opinion, we won the games we were supposed to win, despite Ontario Christian,” said McCarthy. “Maybe we weren’t supposed to win this one, and St. Paul looks to be pretty good. But we are in a good position. Town [Christian] is very dangerous; they score a lot of points.
Artesia will travel to Westminster High this evening, which is 5-1 after falling to Katella High 45-6 last Friday. Lions quarterback Roman Harris is 29 of 56 for 483 yards and five touchdowns with Jason Pham the main receiver as he caught 13 passes for 254 yards and found the end zone four times. The running back will be Ezekiel Cedillo, who made 34 carries for 251 yards and two touchdowns, and Alex Haro, who has gained 219 yards on 39 touches and a pair of touchdowns. The Westminster defense posted 11 sacks and half a dozen interceptions. This will be Artesia’s last non-league game before he hosts John Glenn High on October 15.
“It’s another week for us to try and improve, and our goal is to be ready to play in the league,” said Olmstead. “I think there were times tonight where you’ve seen better things, and we’ll continue to grow in attack and defense. But we have to get back to the defense drawing board and see if we can do better. Tonight was not very good.
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