Dons Ground Parrots
The Verdugo Hills Dons Football team picked a great week to play their most complete game of the season as they shut out host John Francis Polytechnic Parrots 35-0. The Dons were led by one of their captains, Senior Ivan Payawal, who dominated on both sides of the ball. He finished with 4 tackles, 2 of which were for a loss, one pass defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on defense. On offense, he added 26 rushing yards (with one lost fumble) and 2 receptions for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns. “He’s real solid,” Coach Sean Jackson said of Payawal after the game, “He’s been solid all year. We’re looking for big things from him… he does that every day in practice.”
The Dons received the opening kick and were marching down the field when Pawayal was stripped trying to stretch for a first down after an 8 yard run. The Parrots were unable to move the ball and Verdugo Hills returned to the offensive side with great field position after a very short punt. That second drive ended with a 7 yard touchdown run by Ian Yanez with 2:15 left in the first quarter. After another defensive stand, the Dons scored twice within 16 seconds. The first score came on a 5 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Dane Iversen to Luke Waters. On the ensuing drive, Waters pressured the Parrots quarterback, who attempted to get the ball away, but threw it in the vicinity of Defensive Lineman Ifeanyi Bosa. Bosa was able to corral the ball and secure it for an interception before running it in from 30 yards out for a touchdown to give Verdugo Hills a 21-0 lead. “(Bosa) came from nose guard to make that play. He’s very athletic,” Jackson praised Bosa, as he discussed athleticism to drop into coverage and secure the interception and subsequent score.
The Dons defense stood tall in the third quarter and the offense was eventually able to add to the lead when Iversen found Payawal for a 26 yard touchdown pitch and catch with under a minute left in the 3rd Quarter. Iversen and Payawal connected again for a 54 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter to put the game to bed, as this score triggered a running clock until the end of the game. On the play, Iversen threw deep for Payawal and the ball bounced off of the defender's helmet. Payawal maintained his focus and was able to track the ball and catch it before running untouched into the endzone.
Verdugo Hills returns to Turner Stadium next Friday to host the Grant Lancers as the Dons wind down their season. “We want to duplicate this feat.” Jackson said of the complete effort by the team, “it only gets tougher from here.”