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La Cañada High football off to the playoffs

Football: Spartans run, run and run some more to down Temple City, 31-7.

November 08, 2013|By Nathan Cambridge, Special to the Valley Sun

LA CAÑADA —Second-year La Cañada football Coach James Sims had something to say to his squad after last week’s fourth-quarter comeback win over South Pasadena.

“I told them,” Sims recounted last week, “I said, ‘Look, our goal was to make it into the playoffs.’ I said, ‘We only won two games last year. You win these last [two games] and you finish five and five, everybody that had negative stuff to say about you — the 77-nothing loss [to Monrovia], the blowout by San Marino — all the negatives go away because you went from a 2-8 team into the playoffs.’”

The day of reckoning was at hand going into the Spartans’ final regular season contest hosting Temple City Friday night in what amounted to a de facto playoff game for third place in the Rio Hondo League, with the winner taking the league’s final automatic playoff berth. Behind a potent running attack and a stonewall defense, it was La Cañada that came out ahead, downing the Rams, 31-7, to reach the postseason for the first time since 2010.

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“I made them work out [last] November, we were working out at six in the morning, we were doing aerobics. We were doing Pilates,” Sims said after Friday’s win, “and I was like, ‘Man, if we don’t win and make it to the playoffs they’re not going to believe in all this hard work.’ This shows them that it did pay off.”

The Spartans (5-5, 3-2), who did not attempt a pass in the game, were led on offense by the explosive running of Jadon Henry, who had touchdown runs of 76 yards, on his team’s first offensive snap, and 45 yards. The senior averaged 27.4 yards per carry on the way to a game-high 137 on just five carries.

“It’s a great victory for us,” Henry said. “We’ve been working through long winters and summers, in the weight room, on the field conditioning. It’s just a great team win. I’m proud of my offensive line [and] proud of my defense. I’m just ecstatic for my team.”

Also key to the Spartans’ success on the ground was the hard-nosed running of Donnie Breneman, who accounted for his team’s other offensive touchdown on a one-yard run in the second quarter, sending the hosts into halftime up, 21-0. The junior was the workhorse of the night for La Cañada, toting the ball 18 times for 130 yards and the one score.

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