Thursday, June 20, 2024

San Fernando football finds its rhythm in win over Panorama

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PANORAMA CITY – About the only things that didn’t go right for the San Fernando High School football team in its 35-15 road win over Panorama on Friday night were the first two offensive possessions of the game.

They went three-and-out on both, barely possessing the ball for a minute of game time each time. Their staunch defense kept the game tied at zero until just over three minutes into the second quarter when Panorama City got on the board when quarterback Keanu Kelly pushed his way into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown. A successful two-point conversion run gave the Pythons an 8-0 lead.

The Tigers prevented falling further behind when the defense came up with a fourth down stop at their own 10 with 3:45 to play in the half.

“It was huge because we knew that if we let them get up too far, we might lose our guys,” said San Fernando coach Charles Burnley. “They might start feeling down and feel like they’re out of the game. So it was really huge and that’s who our defense has been all year.”

Added Tigers quarterback Adrian Anguiano: “I’m grateful to have such a great defense, because they always do the job for me. When I’m down, they’re up. And then when I’m up, they’re always up.”

From there, San Fernando’s offense came to life. After going three-and-out on the first two drives, the Tigers put together a 90-yard scoring drive.

Anguiano, a senior, ended the shutout using both his feet and arm. The senior rolled left, and after a pocket breakdown, eluded defenders and uncorked a perfect strike to Melvin Pineda, who raced down the sideline for a 49-yard score with 1:23 left in the second quarter. He finished 12 of 19 passing with a pair of touchdowns in the win for the Tigers (8-1, 4-1 Valley Mission).

“Adrian is amazing,” said Burnley. “All year we’ve been just looking for him to make big plays and look at him – he’s making big plays. He’s the kid who just keeps fighting and I’m really proud of him and what he did to help us win.”

On the first play from scrimmage on the next drive for Panorama City, Kelly threw a 62-yard a touchdown that put the Pythons (7-1, 3-1 Valley Mission) ahead 15-6 with 1:05 left in the first half.

Unfazed, Anguiano went back to work, marching the Tigers down the field before connecting with Pineda for another touchdown – this time from 15 yards out and only 4.4 seconds left before halftime. The senior signal caller never panicked and gave himself some simple reminders before leading that drive.

“Stay calm, look for receivers,” said Anguiano. “Don’t try to make a play too hard, but try to move the ball. I’m looking at receivers that are good at making space for themselves and are smart football players.”

Pineda added a rushing touchdown on the opening drive of the second half that gave the Tigers a lead they would never give back.

Senior Ryan Garcia made it a two-score game on the first play of the fourth quarter when he returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, San Fernando put a bow on a very impressive team win when Raymond Guzman scooped a fumble and returned it for the game’s final score.

“They nailed it,” said Burnley. “For some reason, we’ve been sputtering in the first half. We’ve been struggling offensively. Our defense has been solid all four quarters, but our offense has been sputtering. Tonight we were the offense that I thought we could be. You know we made big plays when we needed to and the guys just kept fighting.”

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