Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

3rd Times the charm for La Serna football

It was the type of scenario that every kid sets up in their backyard with their best friend to win the super bowl, “its 4th and long, they need a touchdown to win the game, the ball is snapped, he scrambles left! Goes back to the Right! Sees a man in the end zone, airs the ball out…The ball is caught! They win the Super bowl!”

Well that’s exactly what happened for senior QB Frankie Palmer and best friend WR Matthew Rosales on Dec. 7 when they helped give La Serna High School their first CIF title since 1967 against the 1 ranked Norwalk Lancers, 41-38 in OT.

The 1 ranked Norwalk came into this game with a 14-0 record, and the loss could not have come at a worse time. Norwalk also seeking its first CIF title since 1977 and second in school history was one field goal away from sealing a victory –twice – but they couldn’t capitalize.

With a 29-21 lead and 3:37 left in the 4th qtr. Norwalk had the ball on 4th and goal and attempted to seal the victory with a field goal from 21 yards out. But the La Serna Football team was not done yet.

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“Defense wins championships” is the saying, and it applied in this game for La Serna. In the 4th qtr the La Serna defense had three consecutive stops that in my opinion were the most meaningful plays of the game –other than the game winning play of course – stopping Norwalk’s Running Back sensation Rashad Penny who had 3 rushing touchdowns.

With those three stops Norwalk was forced to go for the field goal from 21 yards out that would’ve gave them a comfortable 32-21 lead. La Sernas Tony Ceron wasn’t going to let that happen, by blocking the field goal he gave Kevin Ramos the opportunity to return the ball the 75 yards the other way to give La Serna 6 points but most importantly the momentum that carried them to claim there well deserved title.

With the score now 29-27 Coach Beltran put the ball in the hands of his talented QB Palmer, who the entire game had the heart of a lion. With courage and resilience, Palmer scrambled right and dove his way into the end zone, sneaking just through the pylon to even out the score at 29.

Just when La Serna thought they were out of the woods, Norwalk began to pile together another drive with less than 3 minutes left to play. Once again the La Serna Defense would get 3 stops that would force Norwalk to punt the ball back to La Serna with enough time to put their own drive together.

With less than 2 minutes left to play in the 4th Norwalk was forced to punt the ball back to La Serna but La Serna was called with running into the kicker giving Norwalk life again. Luckily for La Serna nothing would result of that drive.

La Serna also had their opportunity to seal the win with less than 15 seconds left with a field goal from 41 yards out. But the task was too much for the young sophomore kicker striking it just short of the field goal forcing OT.

It was Norwalk who had the first possession in OT and they successfully compiled a drive to give themselves a 35-29 lead. Jorge Perez was unable to put in the PAT giving La Serna once again the opportunity life and the opportunity to win the game.

La Serna answered back with a drive of their own putting up their 6 points as well. It was Frankie Palmer once again who dove in for the touchdown to once again even the score. The stage was set for the kicker Anthony Vazquez who had up to this point been successful 97 percent of the time going 58 for 60 in PAT.  But Rashad Penny also wasn’t done for the night doing it big on both sides of the field rushing the ball, punting the ball, receiving the ball, and even blocking the ball.

On Norwalk’s last drive of the season they had to settle for a field goal to give them a 38-35 lead, depending on their defense to hold down the La Serna offense that had showed a determination to win the game the entire game.

The stage was set for La Serna, a TD would earn them a title.

The defense would get the three stops they needed forcing La Serna’s season to come down to one final play. Instead of going for the obvious field goal to tie the game, Coach Beltran called a time-out on 4th and 4 to ask his team what they wanted to do.

The gutsy La Serna team said “let go for it”

It was 4th and 4 to go for Palmer, Rosales, and the Lancers and they need a touchdown to win the game. Palmer said “we called the same play as last time” (referring to the 3rd and 4 play). The ball was snapped and Palmer scrambled left, with no one open and the pressure coming he was forced back to the right, he looked up saw a man near the end zone. Off his left foot Palmer aired the ball out towards the end zone to his best friend Rosales who was forced to make a diving over the shoulder catch to earn themselves their most important football Victory of their career.

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