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Fumbles spell disaster for Spartans

Football: La Cañada can't get rolling in opening 34-14 loss at Alhambra.

September 10, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

ALHAMBRA — There couldn't have been a much better start to the football season than the one La Cañada High had at Alhambra's Moor Field on Friday night.

Unfortunately for La Cañada, momentum didn't remain on its sideline long, as four Spartans' drives were derailed by fumbles and the Moors capitalized on seemingly all of La Cañada's mistakes in a 34-14 victory.

The Spartans (0-1) started the game on fire, marching 80 yards down the field in three plays for a touchdown, as quarterback Matt Jones broke a 66-yard run to give La Cañada a 7-0 lead to start the game. Alhambra's offense was forced to punt on its first two possessions.

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"I thought we came out fired up," La Cañada Coach Dan Yoder said. "They were showing us what we thought they were going to show us. We were pretty excited and I thought we had a pretty good game plan."

The speed of Ezra Broadus, Alhambra's running back, proved to be La Cañada's Achilles heel Friday (along with its fumbling problems), as he ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries while sitting out most of the second half with leg cramps.

Yoder said his team was game planning for Broadus, but it's hard to simulate his speed in practice.

"We knew what he was going to do and he just did it," Yoder said.

It was Moors' quarterback, Joshua Mendoza, who got Alhambra (2-0) on the board first. Alhambra took over at La Cañada's own 28-yard line on its third drive, as the Spartans were forced to punt out of their own end zone. It took the Moors five plays to punch it in as Mendoza scored on three-yard quarterback sneak to tie the game at 7 with 1:57 left in the first quarter.

La Cañada's offense couldn't replicate its opening-drive success as the next two Spartans' drives were stopped by fumbles, which were both recovered by Alhambra's Osvaldo Ramirez.

"I think we spent too much time on fumble drills [in the offseason]," Alhambra Coach Lou Torres said. "It seemed like that's all we worked on during two-a-days. It really worked out tonight.

"We constantly tell our kids to swarm the ball. If you swarm the ball you'll be around when the ball's on the floor. Our defense did a great job."

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