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La Cañada High football staves off Alhambra in opener

Football: Defense keys 24-13 nonleague victory over host Moors in Spartans' opener Friday night.

September 06, 2013|By Nathan Cambridge, Special to the Sun

ALHAMBRA — For the second year in a row, La Cañada High opened its football season against Alhambra High, and the Spartans got an encore performance.

For the second year in a row the Spartans outdistanced Alhambra, this year by relying on a stout defense and overcoming a disastrous third quarter to win 24-13 Friday night at Moor Field.

“[Alhambra] played a good game against us. It was out first game of contact,” La Cañada second-year Coach James Sims said. “So, I’m not happy with the performance really, but based on the fact that is the first time we’ve played or had contact with anyone else, I’ll take the win and we’ll have to go get better.”

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La Cañada (1-0) took the ball away from the Moors six times on defense, including four interceptions of Moor quarterback James Giambalvo, two of which the Spartans returned for touchdowns.

The final pick came with the Spartans clinging to a 17-13 lead late in the fourth quarter. La Cañada’s Anthony Connell, who also had a second-quarter interception, picked off a tipped pass and returned it 13 yards for the game’s final touchdown.

“The receiver who it was intended to tipped it and then I got it, then Cole Reeb got it, then it went back to me and I found the end zone,” Connell said of his defensive touchdown that sealed the win.

In the first half, La Cañada picked off the junior on three of his seven passing attempts. Spartan Sam Brown got it started with a late first-quarter pick that his team turned into points on offense for the first score of the contest. They came on a 76-yard touchdown throw from Spartans quarterback Robbie Fuelling to Jadon Henry with 11:36 left before halftime.

“It was a crossing route and I saw the safety sitting inside,” Henry said. “I told my quarterback, ‘Hey, he’s sitting.’ He saw me and he gave me the perfect ball.”

The second Spartans pick came just over a minute after the Henry score, when senior Brad Woolf made the interception and returned it 38 yards for a defensive touchdown and, after the Michael Selsor PAT, a two-score advantage. Connell got the visitors’ third interception before the break, halting the Moors’ final push for points and the Spartans led, 14-0, at the break.

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