(East Los Angeles, CA)—The pride of East L.A., the Garfield Bulldogs, kept their “Historical 2018 Dream Season” vibrantly alive as they soundly dismantled their higher seeded opponent, the Robert F. Kennedy HS Thunderbirds (13-2) from Delano, CA, in the CIF-State SoCal Regional Championship game that took place on Saturday, December 1st at Garfield. The final score was Garfield 42, Kennedy 10.
With yet another solid upset victory added to their amazing season record, the Bulldogs, now (13-1), earned themselves another week of practice that puts them in one of the most elite groups of California High Schools. They are now on their way to Oakland, CA. to play in their final game of their historic season, the 2018 CIF State Football Championship 4-A Division Bowl Game.
The Bulldogs will now face the McClymonds Warriors of Oakland, CA./Champions of the Oakland Conference, who defeated the Aptos Mariners, 3rd place finishers in the Pacific Coast League, last week, by the final score of (28-20). McClymonds now comes into the Championship game versus Garfield with an overall record of (11-2) and a League record of (5-0). They are currently ranked #880 nationally and #88 in the State by MaxPreps.
“Live Streaming” of the game has been scheduled by the NFHS Network for Saturday 12/15/18 at 6 pm. Network subscribers will be able to see this FREE through their “Live Stream” monthly subscription of $9.95. New subscribers may also register at the NFHS Network to watch the game.
Brief Game Summary:
1st Qtr—Scoring on their first possession of the game, and with (4:49) remaining on the clock, JR/RB/#1 P.J. Garcia, started the Bulldogs off on the fast track as he scored the first of his three TDs in the game. The Dawgs drove 65 yds on 10 plays, using up nearly eight full minutes on the game clock, as they used their “ground and pound” attack to dominantly assert themselves on their home turf. The Bulldogs defense played firmly and competitively while shutting down the Thunderbirds “key” running back and All-State CIF athlete, #4 Tyreak Walker. The Bulldogs’ sideline-to-sideline defensive efforts prevented the Thunderbirds’ offense from scoring.
2nd Qtr–The Thunderbirds would score their only points of the game in this period, first, on a 40 yard field goal at the (10:45) mark and then a five yard run that came just prior to the end of the first half with (1:31) left. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were just flexing their offensive and defensive skills and abilities in putting up (21) more points. They were led once again by JR/RB/#1 P.J. Garcia, who was responsible for two of the three scores via his rushing skills. At the (4:51) mark, give lots of credit to SR/DB/WR/#9 Angel Hidalgo for a timely interception near midfield and a return of 20 yards on the play. This would set up Garcia’s third TD, a beautifully executed 30 yard, off-right tackle blast, in just a matter of two plays at the (4:35) mark. The Bulldogs increased their lead to (28-3) when SO/QB/#18 Jonathan Bautista found his wide receiver, Angel Hidalgo open in the end zone on a crossing pattern at the (2:45) mark. Then, as the period was coming to a close, Kennedy’s running back, Tyreak Walker’s five yard TD run over left tackle closed the advantage to (28-10) with only (1:31) left in the half.
HALFTIME SCORE: Garfield 28 Kennedy 10
3rd Qtr—At the (6:36) mark in the period,#18 QB/Bautista displayed a great deal of poise and affirmation as he stood in the pocket behind a solid wall of protection and found SR/WR/#5 Abel Martinez alone in the secondary for a 55 yd. catch and run TD, making the score, Bulldogs 35, Thunderbirds 10. On the Kennedy possession after this kick-off, Capt./SR/LB/#28 Nick Delgadillo forced a fumble in their backfield, alertly scooped it up, and ran it into the end zone untouched for a TD. This would be the full extent of the Bulldogs scoring for the night as Delgadillo’s TD moved the score up to (42-10). Of Significance...JR/P-PK/#16 Fabian Munõz-Rodriguez’s perfect night of 6 consecutive PATS. His punting and kicking skills for the entire season have been a huge additive to the Bulldogs and their success.
4th Qtr—With their point driven physically home, the Bulldogs coasted to victory lane while entirely shutting out the Thunderbirds in the second half. It was All-Academic by the (10:00) minute mark as the Bulldogs were able to once again insert many of their reserves into the game as they accumulated greater seasonal, and even more importantly, playoff game experience. And true to form, all defensive unit players executed the team’s game plan to near-perfection, as well as to the overall delight of Head Coach, Lorenzo Hernandez and his Coaching Staff.
FINAL SCORE: Garfield 42 Kennedy 10
Of Great Significance…The Bulldogs will be the only CIF-SoCal Champion remaining in the playoffs representing the CIF-L.A. City Section in the 2018 CIF State Football Championship Bowl Games.
Post-Game Comments From Head Coach, Lorenzo Hernandez:
“I think our kids came out with something to prove. All week the opposing coach did not give our defense or offense any credit at all. Even on the local sports shows they claimed our program was like a hollow chocolate Easter bunny—nothing on the inside. They talked about our league with an abundance of disrespect. So we wanted to give them something to always remember when they played the boys from East L. A.”
“Again, I think our offense controlled the ball and we identified their weaknesses early. We were able to expose their defense that ‘jumped around and terrorized opponents.’ I give credit to the kids and also our amazing coaching staff. Our defense played lights out against one of the best rushing offenses in the state.”
“Our kids understood the game plan and left it out on the field. I think the kids played with bulletin board material on the minds. Both our Offensive and Defensive lines dominated. Also, the usual kids shined—Hidalgo, Delgadillo, Garcia, Bautista. It was a total team effort!!! Offense, Defense and Special Teams.” I hope we can be a worthy opponent for who ever we face out of the North.”
Coach Hernandez’s Comments Regarding the Title Game:
“McClymonds is a very talented team that has an unbelievable track record. They are a two-time defending State Champion and know we will have our hands full, but we are looking forward to the challenge. I don’t think our kids would want it any other way. If we want to be the best, then we will have to play the best. “
Coach’s Comments Regarding the Bulldogs’ GoFundMe Project:
“On the Go Fund Me account, we are so excited. It’s great to have the love and financial support from our fans, our Alumni, and the community. Our kids feel so appreciative that they have the means necessary to travel a day early, have meals, stay at a great facility, be accompanied by our Marching Band, Drill, Cheer, Jr. ROTC, and a number of our Associated Student Body. The team will be leaving on Friday from Garfield at 12 noon. The entire bus caravan will return together on Sunday, between 2 and 3 pm.”
Media Credits: Frankli Robles, Videography Producer/Contributor, East L.A. Sports Scene; and Producer/Director, Lee Pictures