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Cerritos Dons Football

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Apr, 2021

605 LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Cerritos rebounds from slow start to dominate Artesia in final three quarters

Artesia High sophomore linebacker Joshua Peck (#11) drags Cerritos High junior Mateo Martinez in last Friday night’s 605 League football game. Cerritos would win 30-6 to improve to 2-0 in a four-game season. The game was the first of two for Artesia this season. PHOTO BY ARMANDO VARGAS, Contributing photographer.


By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

April 8, 2021

Unlike the previous week when the Cerritos High football team wasn’t tested that much from John Glenn High in the season opener for both teams, the Dons were in a battle in the first quarter against Artesia High last Friday night. Two turnovers in the first 12 minutes gave Artesia a 6-0 lead in its first game of the short season.

After that, it was all Cerritos as it scored the next 30 points of the game to earn a 24-point victory and a 2-0 start. It’s the first time since Oct. 22, 2010 that Cerritos had defeated Artesia and the first time since that same season that the Dons have won two league games. Should Cerritos knock off Pioneer High on Apr. 8, the Dons will have three league victories for the first time since 2003.

“We started a little slow; give credit to Artesia,” said Cerritos first-year head coach Brad Carter. “They were a pretty tough team. They had some really good athletes, but we had a lot of confidence that we were going to start hitting on all cylinders and that’s kind of what happened.”

However, all is not happy within the 605 League when it comes to football. There was some criticism coming from Glenn last week in Cerritos’ 56-0 rout about the lack of practice time Glenn had and Cerritos didn’t have. That will be Glenn’s only football game at the varsity level this season. Artesia also echoed similar sentiments to how much practice time Cerritos has had.

“This is a result of us practicing for two weeks and them practicing since September,” said Artesia head coach Don Olmstead. “I’ve talked to the [ABC Unified School] district about it, it’s not right and that’s what it looks like. They practiced; they’ve been running all year and we haven’t. We’ve been following the guidelines given to us.

“I think that’s a lot of it; our kids conditioned for two weeks,” he continued. “That’s why in [high school] football, we practice in the summer and in the fall just because it’s a lot of time and we have to get the kids ready. I just don’t feel like our kids were fully prepared and we just didn’t have the time to put in.”

Cerritos took the opening kickoff and was driving deep into Artesia territory until junior quarterback David Sagun was picked off by senior safety Devin Yoakum at the 26-yard line. On the fifth play of the ensuing possession, Yoakum scampered 41 yards around the left side on a reverse for Artesia’s lone tally.





Artesia High junior quarterback K’Len Williams (left) fakes a handoff to senior running back Jelani Hopkins in last Friday night’s 605 League contest against host Cerritos High. Williams rushed for 55 yards on 16 carries and also threw for 37 yards in a 30-6 loss. Hopkins would pick up 54 yards on 15 carries. PHOTO BY ARMANDO VARGAS, Contributing photographer.


The Pioneers would have the ball for a little over 10 minutes in the first half and had second quarter possessions end in three punts and halftime. Meanwhile, the Dons shook off the sluggish start to score 17 points in the second quarter. On the third play of the stanza, Sagun tossed a 20-yard scoring pass to junior wide receiver Mateo Martinez.

Cerritos would also score on a 25-yard field goal by junior Jonathan Martinez with 2:30 left in the half and a Sagun 17-yard run with 35 seconds remaining. Sagun would connect on six of 10 passing in the first half for 87 yards and run four times for 41 yards before the break.

“He’s really improving with the throwing,” Carter said. “We’ve always known he’s quick and he’s smart; he controls the game. But we’re trying to get him some easy throws and he’s really proven to us that he can take it to the next level passing as well.”

Artesia’s lone possession of the third quarter, which lasted for 5:03, ended in a fumble and the Pioneers would also have a drive of over five and a half minutes in the fourth quarter end on downs. Artesia junior quarterback K’Len Williams completed four passes for 37 yards and rushed 16 times for 55 yards while senior running back Jelani Hopkins added 54 yards on 15 carries. Those two were most of the offense for Artesia, which had its Mar. 25 game against Pioneer postponed.

“I think it’s a huge factor,” Olmstead said of not playing Pioneer. “I think that’s it. That’s why we have seven non-league games [in a full season] and we can schedule those accordingly whether we have experience or not. Of our 11 starters on offense, we had four kids with varsity experience here. So, there’s going to be some growing pains and we don’t really have the time to get through those growing pains. It’s kind of a ‘show up and go’ type deal.

“I thought K’Len played great,” Olmstead later added. “He’s getting better every day. He made some tough plays, he made some rough plays and he made some good plays. But he’s a competitor and we’ll keep rolling with him and he’s got another year. Jelani played better than I anticipated. I thought him and [senior running back] Corey [McKinley] would kind of rotate and he kind of took the bull by the horns and ran pretty well.”

Defensively, the Pioneers were flustered throughout the game with the running of Cerritos senior Andrew Ramos (20 carries, 107 yards) and Sagun (six carries, 75 yards). The previous week, the Dons racked up 240 yards on the ground with junior Connor DeFrain gaining 92 of them on just five touches.

“He’s really had a great camp,” Carter said of Ramos. “We’ve had two really good backs; Conner could go tonight, so Ramos stepped up and he’s really quick, he’s hard to find and he played a great, great game.”

“Defensively, we can’t simulate it in practice,” Olmstead said of Cerritos’ rushing style. “That’s why I usually don’t play double wing teams in preseason because it’s hard to prepare for that, and we don’t see it anymore in our league. As the game went on, we played better defensively.”

Artesia’s next and last game of the season will be on Apr. 16 against Pioneer.


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