By Alfonso Rivera Jr.
A prolific offense versus an impenetrable defense. On this occasion, the Bulldogs delivered too much firepower for the Panthers to sustain. Garfield attained what they coveted most, a rematch with the team that ended their season last year in the same exact scenario.
The City Open Division Champion will either be the Patriots for the 4th consecutive year, or the East Los Angeles based Bulldogs for their 1st title of this magnitude. They captured the 2A City Title in 1981 and the Division II Title in 2007 under the tutelage of current head coach, Lorenzo Hernandez, in 2007.
Gardena Coach Monty Gilbreath put it in perspective, “I have to say we got beat by a better team.” Running Back Damian Cornejo continued his rushing onslaught with 3 more trips to the end zone and 163 yards on 24 carries. It was a collective effort. Dominic Vasquez returned an interception for 60 yards and a touchdown on his 6th pick of the season. Isaak Naranjo and Jeremy Ramos also had key picks for the host’s stellar defense.
QB Damian Cabrera linked up with wideout Jayden Barnes for a 45-yard touchdown to begin the romp. Fullback Robert Sanchez culminated the scoring with a tough well-earned trip to the end zone to make it 42-6. Cornejo summed it up, “Last year Birmingham was bigger, stronger…more physical than us.” Coach Hernadez followed up, “We’re ready!”
The 2nd seeded Bulldogs (11-1) will meet top-seeded Birmingham (10-2) for the open division title on Saturday November 25th @ 6pm at Valley College.