(Eagle Rock, CA.)—The undefeated Garfield Bulldogs, Eastern League Champions, and overall (12-0), rallied from behind in the fourth quarter to win a closely played game over the #2 seed, Eagle Rock Eagles, Northern League Champions, overall (10-1), by the score of (24-21), in last Friday’s huge “Open” Division Semifinal game. The Bulldogs, appearing in the second year of the CIF/L.A. City Section Division’s newest division by virtue of their undefeated season, proved to be more than worthy of their #6 seed by upsetting the two higher seeds in the Division. Their first upset came against #3 seed, the Carson Colts, on 11/9.
Brief Game Summary:
1st Qtr—The stands were full 30 minutes before kick-off as this much anticipated game counted down to the kick-off. Garfield took the opening possession and was quickly out on three downs. Then, Eagle Rock came out with their first possession and were also held to a “3 and Out.” Thus, the first quarter scenario had been constructed. At this point, it appeared to be a “Mano a Mano” type of game. After several more possessions each, the Bulldogs rallied for a scoring drive as the seconds counted down in the period. Head Coach Lorenzo Hernandez used his place kicking specialist, JR/P-PK/#16 Fabian Muñoz-Rodriguez to put the first three points on the board by way of a 25 yard field goal with only (:28.8) seconds left. Little did either team or Coaching Staffs know, that this would prove to be one of the most decisive plays of the game.
2nd Qtr—The Bulldogs mounted another scoring drive and produced positive results when their “Air Attack” took critical shape on a well executed 35 yard TD pass from Sophomore QB/#18 Jonathan Bautista to the crafty and skillful SR/WR/#9 Angel Hidalgo who was hit with a perfectly thrown pass on a post pattern with just (1:25) left in the half. The Eagles then managed to put up their first TD of the game with time running out in the half. On a down and out pass pattern, SR/WR/#2 David Montijo caught a pass from SR/QB/#14 Nathan Corrales and ran it down the sideline for a 25 yard score with just (:34.5) seconds remaining. The PAT by SR/PK/#21 Edson Zamarron was good. Scoreboard now showed Garfield 10, Eagle Rock 7
HALFTIME SCORE: Garfield 10 Eagle Rock 7
3rd Qtr—The Eagles began to find their rhythm and momentum in this period. They scored at the (6:00) minute mark when QB/Corrales found his JR/RB/#32 Daniel Zamora for a 6 yard TD pass. With this score, the Eagles took the lead at (14-10). After holding the Bulldogs to a “3 & out,” the offense came back onto the field and managed to score again, this time at the (3:17) mark when the Eagles were on the Bulldog three yard line and Head Coach Andy Moran called a jet sweep right for his man-in-motion, SR/WR/#3 Ethan Delgado who took it wide, and then into the end zone, giving the Eagles a (20-10) lead. The PAT by Zamarron was good. The score now read, Eagle Rock 21, Garfield 10. The Bulldogs answered with their own scoring drive at the (2:22) mark left in the quarter when Bautista found WR/#11/Bruce Gonzalez in the left flat for a 10 yard TD pass. The Muñoz-Rodriguez PAT was good, for a (21-17) score to end the period.
4th Qtr—The period was played with high defensive intensity as both squads would mount short and intermittent drives, only to be forced into punting situations. Then at the (3:04) mark left in the game, Garfield scored after forcing the Eagles into surrendering the ball on 4th down at their own 35 yard line. After several running plays, and a third and goal, the Bulldogs were at the Eagle Rock 1 yard line and that’s when Coach Hernandez called on his short distance crew composed of QB/Bruce Gonzalez and Nick Delgadillo at fullback. On the snap of the ball, the big “O” line surged just hard and long enough to allow Delgadillo to find the seam and break the plane of the goal line. The score now read, Bulldogs 23, Eagles 21. Muñoz-Rodriguez’s PAT was true for the 24th and final point of the game. On their ensuing possession, the Eagles were unable to mount a drive, and with just over a minute and half, the Bulldogs ran out the clock in victory formation.
FINAL SCORE: Garfield 24 Eagle Rock 21
Game Quotes From: Garfield Head Coach Lorenzo Hernandez
RE: The Game….“First we have to give credit to Eagle Rock, they were a very well coached and prepared program. I think we did a decent job of managing the game and our kids played their tails off on the road in a hostile environment. The team never wavered and continued to believe although being down 21-10. Our defense responded when we needed them to and we got some big plays from our vets and youngsters who came through as well.”
RE: The Narbonne Championship Game….“Next week I think we have a monumental task but I have faith that our kids will rise to the occasion. Our kids look forward to playing at the highest level and have no doubt they will be excited for the opportunity to play section power Narbonne.”
RE: The State Playoffs:…. “I think it’s truly a special honor, but we want to be a worthy opponent for Narbonne first, then we will play the card we are dealt. I’m extremely proud for our team, coaches and the East L.A. Community. Regardless of what happens I will forever be grateful for the incredible memories we have made.”