Cardinals gain 244 yards — all on the ground
They call it “getting into the scrum” or “pressing the gap.”
It happens on nearly every offensive play for the Lowell football team, when a running back follows closely behind a pulling lineman and puts his hand on their back, like leading an elephant out of a crowded room and through an open door.
And it has worked nearly to perfection thus far this year in the Academic Athletic Association, as Lowell (6-1 overall, 4-0 AAA) remained undefeated in league play with a 38-0 win at Galileo Thursday.
The Cardinals scored four rushing touchdowns and gained all 244 of its yards on the ground in the convincing win, following rotating linemen Christian Gruber, Peter Liu, Ian Maguire, Kevin Hansen, Edwin Chan, Chris Prescott and tight end Pat Schock all the way.
“We teach them to hide themselves behind the lineman, use him, and then pop out,” Lowell defensive coordinator Al Gamboa said. “Just try to find that seam.”
The Cardinals took control of the game during a strong second quarter in which the Lowell defense also flexed its muscle. Anurat Rojanapairat scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on the second play of the period and ran the subsequent two-point conversion attempt in as well, giving the Cardinals a 16-0 lead 50 seconds into the quarter.
Galileo (0-7, 0-4) then embarked on a long drive, but Lowell came up with a defensive stop on fourth-and-eight at the Cardinals’ 28 to turn the ball over on downs. Lowell then moved the ball down the field again (aided by a Galileo penalty on fourth down that gave the Cardinals a first down when Lowell was in punt formation), and Bismark Navarro capped it off with a 13-yard touchdown to put the Cardinals ahead 24-0 with 56 seconds remaining in the half.
Then, with Galileo looking to get a quick score before the half, J.R. Ayalde picked off a pass and returned it 50-yards for a touchdown, giving Lowell a 31-0 half time lead and effectively putting the game out ofreach.
In all the Lowell defense forced Galileo to turn the ball over on downs five times during the game.
“Our key is just staying low, moving our feet and sticking to the basics,” Lowell defensive lineman Anthony Thomas said. “Coach Gamboa and the rest of the coaches do a great job keeping us focused and ready to go.”
Navarro scored Lowell’s final touchdown of the game on a 12-yard run with 8:37 remaining in the game, and led the Cardinals with 84 yards on nine carries. Marcos Cronander added 63 yards on 12 totes, including Lowell’s first touchdown of the game.
Despite the loss, Galileo coach Kevin Adams said he saw some encouragement in the second half, as his team held the Cardinals to just one touchdown and Lions defensive back Deshawn Jose had an interception.
“They’re really tough to prepare for, but we played hard,” Adams said. “Now we want to keep improving and hopefully salvage a few wins.”
Lowell 38, Galileo 0