Escondido, CA

SP maintains its grip on the Bear trophy with dominant win

When it comes to claiming ownership of the Battle of the Bear trophy that is awarded to the winner of the almost annual contest between San Pasqual and Orange Glen Highs, the Golden Eagles have clearly demonstrated their dominance for nearly two decades.

And after a rather staggering 60-0 victory over the host Patriots last Friday night, San Pasqual continued its stranglehold of the coveted prize between the two schools that are practically next door neighbors.

The latest G. Eagle victory in this lengthy rivalry that began way back in 1972 marked the 17th time in the last 18 meetings and the 11th straight that SP has had its way. Any doubt that SP doesn’t approach this nearby matchup loaded for bear and completely prepared to bear down has evaporated many moons ago. Based on the results, it’s as if the G. Eagles have turned this intra-city confrontation into some sort of righteous crusade.

The tone for Friday’s ultimate outcome was set virtually from the outset. On their very first play from scrimmage, the G. Eagles struck like lightning when quarterback Westin Erdmann hooked up with running back Brett Sayers on a 57-yard scoring toss. And with that tally, an avalanche of points was destined to follow.

Rather amazingly, SP would attempt just one more pass the entire night but with their running game truly kicking into gear, there really was no need to continue to go up top. The identity of Coach Tony Corley’s squad is deeply rooted in its ability to move the ball on the ground and when it has success doing so, it can be a formidable club. Eight of SP’s eventual nine touchdowns would come via the land route. The Golden Eagles dominated to such an extent on the turf that it would have made Patton smile at such an overwhelming and efficient ground assault.

Having only produced two touchdowns combined in consecutive losses to Vista and highly-regarded Ramona, a recharged offense that bedeviled the Pats was an encouraging sign for a G. Eagles team that evened its seasonal mark at 2-2.

In addition to a standout performance from a SP defense that completely shut down and blanked the Pats, it was Sayers who clearly took center stage. Aside from his TD catch, the productive junior found paydirt on a trio of scoring runs, including one on which he made a clever and decisive cut inside. Sayers concluded his memorable night having gained 107 combined yards.

With some legitimate momentum now behind them, the G. Eagles should prove to be a handful for winless Fallbrook as the those two teams prepare for their Valley League opener tomorrow night on the Warriors home turf.

As long as SP can pound the ball and has anywhere near as much overland success as it experienced against Orange Glen, a second straight win looms as a high probability.

As far as Orange Glen is concerned, it’s been tough sledding to date, with the Pats having dropped each of their first four games. Because this is a relatively young team, growing pains and a period of adjustment were to be expected and that’s exactly the way things have played out.

Moreover, because youngster Julien Lesa was forced to take over the quarterbacking duties due to the unavailability of projected starter Caleb Patterson and for other germane reasons, the offense just hasn’t gelled and has struggled to put points on the board.

But with the experience they’ve been gaining and with a dedicated and committed coach like Jason Patterson pushing them to get better every day, the Pats should show improvement moving forward.

Getting C. Patterson back in the fold sometime soon should be of significant help because of his innate running ability. And it’s not like the Pats don’t have some other bona fide weapons on offense. Diminutive receiver Zeandre Anderson is a genuine threat with his moves and speed while Jacob Guzman can be a powerful and effective runner inside if he’s provided with some running room.

And there are also plenty of competent players on the opposite side of the ball as well. The defensive line has a pair of real contributors in the physically impressive John Simmons and Juan Sanchez. Active middle linebackers Luis Mateo and the sophomore Lesa have proven to be real gamers while collaborating for 77 total tackles, 41 of which have been of the solo variety.

Plus, the back end also possesses two players capable of getting it done in the reliable Juan Rocha and cornerback Anderson, who ranks second on the team with 34 stops.

Something will have to give Friday night when the Patriots take on another locally based team that has also gone winless in Escondido Charter. Thankfully, one of these two teams will soon find the winning column and hopefully use that as a positive that can be sustained into the future.

And speaking of something being sustained, that’s exactly what has taken place in San Pasqual’s mastery over Orange Glen. When it comes to the Battle of the Bear, the Golden Eagles have certainly demonstrated to everyone’s satisfaction that they bearly, er, barely ever lose!

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