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Christians Chew Up Lions on Ground, 45-24

Joe Torosian

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By Joe Torosian

El Monte, CA – There’s been a lot of glitz, glitter, and action involved with El Monte football to start the 2012 season. Front line quarterback, solid running back, and a wide receiver who makes both the ordinary and extraordinary every week.

It’s all there, except one thing. The defense.

For the second week in a row the Lions gave up over forty points and fell to visiting Ontario Christian 45-24 at home on Friday night.

“It’s frustrating because of all the time and effort we put into it,” says El Monte HC Joel Sanchez, now in his tenth year. “We watch so much film, practice, and try to fix things but we have a lot of young guys on defense and its showing. Seven guys on defense who have never been under the lights.”

After the teams traded interceptions to open the game the Knights scored on a 40-yard pass from quarterback Craig Bruinsma to Christian Dirksen.

On the last play of the first quarter El Monte answered when Brandon Martinez (the front line quarterback mentioned at top of the story) went 28-yards to Adolfo Sanchez. The Lions passed up the opportunity to go for the tie and instead went for two. Martinez punched it in and the home team was up 8-7.

Through the first eight quarters of the season El Monte has aggressively gone for two after each touchdown.

“We only have to convert 50 percent to be a 100 percent,” said Lions HC Brian Tabatabai. “Right now we are at 75 percent.” EM would go a perfect three for three on two-point conversions for the night.

Ontario Christian answered immediately on the second play of its next drive. T.J. Spykstra zoomed through the heart of defense for a 58-yard score and everyone knew trouble was brewing for the team from the End of the Santa Fe Trail.

“If you’re getting beat up front, you’re not going to win games,” said Sanchez.

Three minutes later, after getting the ball back at the El Monte 45 following a turnover on downs, Bruinsma went 28-yards to Derek Van Leeuwen and it became 21-8 in favor of the Knights.

Thirty-two seconds later Martinez went 61-yards down the east sideline to Abel Barajas (the receiver at the top of the story who does the ordinary and the extraordinary) and the talented receiver carried two defensive backs the final ten yards into the end zone.

“He (Barajas) is one of the best receivers around, I see him do stuff like that every day in practice,” said Sanchez.

Bryan Luevano (the solid running back mentioned at the top of the story) added the deuce and it was a 21-16 game.

With 7:36 to play in the half and its own 35 Ontario Christian went to work on a 10 play drive that continually made deep cuts into the EM defense. Spykstra used runs of 12, 10, and 11-yards before scoring on a 7-yard run to make it 28-16 at the break.

In the third Spykstra scored again on a 11-yard run. The Lions responded with Luevano (17-135-Td) on a 2-yard run and a conversion to make it 35-24, but they would get no closer.

Bruinsma hit Dirksen on a 42-yard scoring pass and the Knights added a late field goal to finish the scoring.

Martinez went 15 of 34 for 212 yards for El Monte with two touchdowns and pick. Adolfo Sanchez, who made several nice grabs out of the slot, ended with six catches for 95 yards and touchdown. Barajas had four for 75 and a score.

For Ontario Christian Spykstra carried the ball 23 times for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

“We have to find the right mix of guys to get it done, we’re going to struggle until we fix that,” said Sanchez.


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News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.
Christians Chew Up Lions on Ground, 45-24