Running back Jacob LaRue benefits from a strong screen as he gains yardage during the decisive 46-10 Verbum Dei win against Cantwell-Sacred Heart High School in Montebello, Friday, October 25. Image by Marcel Viens, Verbum Dei High School
By John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei
Reversing a long history of defeat at the hands of the Cantwell-Sacred Heart High School Cardinals, the Verbum Dei Eagles varsity squad flew over their Del Rey League
opponent with a score of 46-10, Friday, October 25. The sometimes contentious homecoming game at CSHHS was thrilling to watch, and it showcased the gritty determination and winning resolve that has become the hallmark of Verb football.
Reciting St. Ignatius’ Prayer for Generosity, the Eagles took the field marching in ranks
from under their goalpost – territory that was to be largely untrodden by Cardinal cleats during the game. The night’s Eagle offensive juggernaut began with Tyler Frey’s 37-yard kickoff return and continued with a series of running plays resulting in several first downs. Jacob LaRue and Christian Pimental carried the ball down the field in lurches and sprints; Pimental, who would ultimately garner the MVP for the game, emerged from a Cardinal dogpile with a three-yard gain resulting in a critical first down. Davir Hamilton – once while carrying one half of the Cardinal squad along with him – joined LaRue in moving the ball deeper into Cantwell territory. Ultimately, Pimental would get the honor of scoring the first touchdown of the game. With four minutes remaining in the quarter, LaRue carried a successful conversion to bring the lights to 8-0.
David Castillo brought down his Cardinal opponent on the kick return, and a Cantwell
drive downfield was aided by a personal foul penalty against the Eagles. Verb’s defenders took a strong stance deep in their own territory. The defensive pressure was so great that the Cardinals threw an incomplete pass to a wide-open receiver; however, the Cantwell field position allowed a successful field goal from the Verb 13-yard line. With little time remaining in the first quarter and the scoreboard reading 8-3, Tyler Frey sprinted 63-yards on the kick return. A LaRue carry brought the ball to Cantwell’s 30-yard line to end the quarter.
The second quarter continued with Hamilton carries to a short run goal position, and again, Pimental was given the honor of scoring from the Cantwell two-yard line. Hamilton’s successful conversion at the corner of the end zone brought the score to 16-3. The Cantwell kick return ended abruptly at its 26-yard line with a spectacular tackle by sophomore Omar Soto. The Cardinals then took to the air with a series of incomplete passing plays. A Nigel Beckles tackle helped to interrupt the Cardinal’s flight path, and the subsequent turnover on downs presented another scoring drive opportunity to the Eagles.
Hamilton carried the ball 60-yards, deep into Cantwell real estate. Beckles ran an additional 10-yards, and LaRue carried for another Eagle touchdown. Another successful conversion by LaRue brought the score to 24-3.
Edwin Suro’s kickoff for the Eagles went deep. The Cardinals slogged out to mid-field with a series of short gains. A pass completion and a personal foul call against Verbum Dei moved the line of scrimmage into Eagle territory. With five minutes remaining in the half, tackles by Jabril Frazier and Gregory Woods and a force out of bounds by Castillo held the Cardinals and slowed their advance toward the Eagle’s end zone. An incomplete Cardinal pass and another Frazier tackle brought a fourth down.
Cantwell decided to run rather than punt, and a highly disputed force out of bounds call allowed the Cardinals a first down within scoring range. Cantwell’s scoring drive and subsequent field goal were successful, yet the “Home – 10” digital readout on the scoreboard would be unchanging for the duration of the game.
A short 15-yard kickoff return by Frey, a series of dogged carries by Hamilton and
LaRue, and an off sides penalty necessitated an Eagle punt. Returning to familiar mid-field territory, the Cardinals tried a series of frantic pass attempts, which ultimately led to an interception by Zachary Burge. The final Verb possession of the half resulted in a touchdown by Hamilton and a successful conversion by LaRue. The score at the half was 32-10.
The second half began with a litany of tackles: Pimental on the kick return at mid-field
and Beckles and Woods on running plays. Cantwell, again roaming familiar turf, allowed a turnover on downs at the Verb 34-yard line. The following scoring drive featured carries by LaRue and Hamilton; a Verb touchdown and follow-up conversion by LaRue brought the score to 40-10.
As Cantwell attempted to regroup, strong Eagle defensive play kept the red birds on the ground. A Chase Moore tackle on the return, followed up by shared and individual tackles by Pimental, Burge, and Castillo kept the defense busy. Frazier swatted down a high pass, forcing Cantwell to punt. LaRue gained 65-yards on one carry and punched through the Cardinal offensive line to score. A failed conversion attempt left the score at 46-10.
Again mid-field and in disarray, Cantwell struggled. Frazier and Woods had back-to-back sacks before the clock began to run for the duration. Hamilton carries – one long, one short – eventually led to a turnover on downs. The Cardinal possession began at mid-field, but personal foul penalties against both teams kept the action confined between the 40s. As the clock readout diminished, Cantwell was unable to consistently complete passes and remained bogged down mid-field. Ricardo Fragoso added his name to the game’s defensive stats with a late game sack. A Moore interception sealed the score at 46-10 with 44-seconds on the running clock.
The decisive, vindicating win earns the Eagles a CIF Southern Section playoff spot against a favorable first round opponent. With the win, the Eagles bring their Del Rey League record to 4-1 and 6-3 on the season. One final league game remains in the regular season. The Eagles will take on Bishop Montgomery of Torrance, Friday, November 8 at 7:00 P.M. on their home field at LA Southwest College. Halftime festivities will recognize and honor athletes from the Class of 2014, whose exploits and spirit on the gridiron have contributed to a record season.
Upstretched arms by stripe-sporting officials were a common sight during the VDHS Eagles 46-10 season wind-down game against CSHHS in Montebello. Image by Marcel Viens, Verbum Dei High School