Last Friday night, Nov. 2, the Aquinas Falcons pounded the Conquerors of Los Altos (Hacienda Heights) at the start of the 2018 CIF Southern Section Playoff Brackets Division 5 Tournament with a score of 48-7.
The Conquerors had a 4-6 record, overall, with a 2-2 standing in league play.
The Falcons boasted a 9-1 record in overall play, with a 5-0 record in league play.
Aquinas running back Andrew Kellstrom started the Falcon attack with a 19-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter, a result of a fumble recovered by Aquinas outside linebacker Teayon Sweet less than a minute into the game.
Falcon cornerback Miguel Hernandez intercepted the first of three passes of the night, with less than 10 minutes in the first quarter.
The Conquerors got on the scoreboard on a touchdown run by wide receiver Avery Torres. With 9:28 left in the second quarter, the score was a tight 7 to 7.
Kellstrom scored again, on a 1-yard touchdown run for the Falcons.
The extra point was no good and the score was 13-6, in favor of the Falcons.
The defensive line for both teams prevented either team from making much headway downfield.
Kellstrom broke into the end zone with less than four minutes in the second quarter, increasing Aquinas’ lead, to 20-7.
The Falcons seemed sluggish compared to past games. The offense was not able to get an effective ground or air attack against the Conquerors defensive line.
Hernandez showed his athletic ability, once again, when he intercepted another Conqueror pass. That opportunity allowed the Falcons to score with less than 15 seconds on the clock, in the second quarter. Score was 27-7 at the half.
Something happened in the locker room at the half because when the Falcons returned to the field, they seemed motivated and charged up.
Aquinas running back Kellstrom ran in for another touchdown, increasing Aquinas’ score to 34-7.
Aquinas had two touchdowns that were nullified, as a result of Falcon penalties.
These setbacks did not seem to phase Aquinas. They regained their momentum and continued to play hard.
Aquinas wide receiver Jeremiah Edmonds scored for the Falcons with a 7-yard touchdown run.
The score was now 41-7.
With less than 5 minutes left, Aquinas running back Isaac Handy plowed through and emerged from a mangled pile of players to score for the Falcons.
The score was 48-7, as the time clock ran out of seconds.
Despite a multitude of penalties against the Falcons, the team appeared more fluid in the second half and did not allow the Conquerors to score for the duration of the third and fourth quarters.
The Falcons won their first playoff round 48-7, over the Conquerors of Los Altos.
“The offense could have done a little better, blocking wise,” said Aquinas corner back Jonathan Ervin. “The defense was good. They stopped the quarterback scramble a couple of times.”
“We couldn’t get the offense going in the first quarter, but our defense shut them down.”
“The first half started off badly. I was kind of slow,” said Aquinas quarterback Caleb Williams. “It’s the first round of the playoffs, and I didn’t want to lose.
“I started getting rid of the jitters and got over it, and we worked it out and came up with a win.
“The defense won this game for us. The defense had a perfect game. Miguel had three interceptions. I think he should be Player of the Game tonight.”
“It was a great win against a good football team,” said Aquinas coach Jordan Brusig. “We had a tough start. They had big boys up front. We knew that. We had to lean on them the whole game.
“We had too many penalties in the playoffs. That’s a problem. You can’t beat good teams when you take penalties and lose yards.”
Brusig was satisfied with Andrew Kellstrom’s performance.
“Kellstrom is a rock. He’s one of the rocks of this team. He plays his heart out,” said Brusig
“I think we did enough to get the job done.”
Playing in a new division will bring new challenges, according to Brusig.
“We’re in a new caliber play to be in Div. 5. We have to be ready to play against teams that are bigger than us,” said Brusig.
“We have to do what we do. We’re not going to let anybody out work us.”