American dominates Homecoming game in 3rd straight victory

James Salazar

Staff Writer

The game was over before it even had a chance to start as American High’s varsity football team absolutely dominated the Mission Warriors in a 53-7 blowout en route to their first three game winning streak of the season, climbing to an overall record of 6-2.

The offensive explosion was kicked off with American’s leading rusher, junior Trevon Jones, bursting into the endzone for a 10-yard touchdown run that capped off their first drive of the game. However, that was just the appetizer to the full course meal American was about to serve to Mission in the 1st quarter of the game.

Following Jones’ touchdown, the Eagles refused to show any hesitation or pause in revealing what they truly had in mind for their opponent that night.

American v. Mission
American v. Mission: American’s starting quarterback Junior Diala (7) gets ready to receive the snap from center Waheeb Janmoradi’s (55). The American v. Mission game was held on October 24, 2014 at TAK Fudenna Stadium as American won 53-7. “It was great,” Diala said. “You always love to see your team play the way they did especially blowing out a team in front of the whole school at the homecoming game.”

“The game plan was to start off fast and just attack Mission by scoring early and often and not letting them even have a chance in the game,” junior starting quarterback Junior Diala said.

The Eagles were merciless. They continued to gash the hapless Mission defense through the rushing game. American’s offensive line simply overpowered Mission’s defense as the Eagles’ front line opened gaping holes for their halfbacks to run through; something a Mission coach said just prior to the game may have played a big role in that.

“The coach for Mission was telling people that our offensive line looked like JV players, so we weren’t about to take that lightly,” senior offensive lineman Harrison Hunter said. “We ran the ball the whole game just to prove how much better we were.”

On the resulting kick-off, American recovered a surprise onside kick. After they retained possession of the ball, they drove down the field just as they had during their opening drive. Senior halfback Justice Powers topped the drive off by taking the football into the endzone for a 4-yard touchdown run of his own.

Following another successful onside kick, American continued to move the ball down field at will, met with little resistance from the Warriors defense. This time it was senior halfback Elijah Brooks who made it to paydirt on a 14-yard touchdown run. Barely halfway through the opening quarter and American led 20-0. But according to at least one player, the early lopsided score came as no surprise.

“We just knew that if we played the same way we practiced (during the week), we would have no problem handling them,” Hunter said.

After three consecutive rushing touchdowns, American decided to air the football out as Diala connected with team leading wide receiver Anthony Wellington for a 37-yard touchdown bomb. The pass was one of just three attempted by the Eagles all night, but it was a memorable one, as Wellington had to leap into the air and reach over a Mission defender to haul in his 9th touchdown of the year.  By then it was 27-0, still in the 1st quarter, but American was still hungry for more.

Aided by a Mission turnover, American obtained possession of the ball again and went back to the ground game. They once again tore through Mission’s vulnerable defense by handing the football off to their running backs. The drive was finished off the same way the quarter had begun, with Jones hammering it into the endzone, but this time for a 5-yard scamper.

And with that, the onslaught was finally over (in the 1st quarter anyway) with American leading 34-0. The Eagles had scored a whopping 5 touchdowns in just the opening 12 minutes of regulation.

By then, the outcome of the game was almost certain.  There was little fear of a historic comeback from the Warriors as the Eagles simply looked like the more dominant football team that night.

“Our mindset was to just stay focused and not get ahead of ourselves,” Diala said. “But yeah we felt like the game was over (after the 1st quarter) and that they wouldn’t come back.”

For the remainder of the game, American finally decided to take their foot off the gas slightly as they only scored 19 more points for the rest of the game. They also lost their shutout halfway through the 3rd quarter when Mission broke the line of scrimmage to block an American punt and recovered the football in the endzone for their lone score of the evening.

However, American still maintained a very sizable lead all throughout the football game. As the clock hit zero, the scoreboard read Eagles 53, Warriors 7.

With the win, American improved to 3-1 in league play and pulled into a second place tie with Moreau Catholic, and also remained just one game back of 1st place Kennedy. But American is not taking this recent streak of success for granted, as they know that they are still a long way away from their ultimate goal.

“Our mindset is real focused,” Diala said. “We have two big games ahead of us and we have the goal of being the MVAL (Mission Valley League) champions right in front of our face. None of us plan on messing up and letting that goal slip away.”

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