Pictured L-R: Ayala QB, Bryan Wilson, and GHS running back, Braydon Brus
Thanks to Gustavo Vargas & Carlo Montalbo for the photos
Editors Note: I apologize for posting this story earlier than usual for a Friday night game, but I have more medical procedures this week and needed to get it done.
There may be no love lost between the Ayala and Glendora football programs, but make no mistake about it, the coaches and players from both sides genuinely respect each other.
And while the Bulldogs and Tartans no longer share the same league, defeating the other is still as big as it was in 2019, when the two schools were duking it out for Palomares League supremacy.
Since 2019, which includes the 2021 spring and fall seasons, Ayala has won 22 of their last 23 games, and Glendora is 21-3.
When GHS takes the field on Friday night at Citrus College, it will have been just 143 days since the Bulldogs dominated the Tartans throughout its 35-0 victory on April 9th.
Another intriguing side note to Friday night’s showdown is the fact that it will be the last time this year that two undefeated area programs will face off in the regular season.
What is key to either a Tartans or Bulldogs victory?
Ayala’s recipe for success offensively is pretty simple.
The Bulldogs fully trust their sophomore quarterback, Bryan Wilson, to run the show.
And why wouldn’t they? He’s 11-0 as the AHS QB.
Wilson is a versatile and cerebral guy, who can beat you with his right arm or legs.
The Wilson-led Bulldogs have won games this year where he threw for less than 100 yards and relied heavily on their running game, and yet, the Ayala quarterback threw for over 300 yards and accounted for five TD’s two weeks ago in a 42-7 victory at Tustin.
Ayala has a solid running game that is led by CJ Sento, Eddie Huerta and Jacob Munoz.
The Bulldogs trio has combined for 898 yards rushing and 10 TD’s.
Ayala’s Lytallion Payne and Dominic Alloway have combined to catch 27 passes for 438 yards and six TD’s.
Defensively, Ayala has one shutout to their credit and they haven’t surrendered more than three scores in any of the first six games.
Glendora’s playbook isn’t a mystery either.
Seventeen of the Tartans 24 TD’s this season have come via the running game.
GHS has rushed for 947 yards, including an average of 158 per game.
Their stud is Northwestern commit, Braydon Brus.
Brus has rushed for 494 yards and has a team-high 11 TD’s.
But those numbers aren’t an accurate assessment of Braydon’s worth to the program.
In three of Glendora’s six wins (Covina, Los Altos & Diamond Ranch) the Tartans’ senior didn’t get a lot of touches because the game was out of reach at the half.
Zach Ford, the younger brother of former GHS star, Xzavier Ford, has had a solid sophomore season.
Ford has rushed for 295 yards and four scores.
It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to realize that GHS quarterback Jake Denerson has the opportunity to be the Tartans x-factor.
Denerson averages 109 yards passing per game and has thrown for seven TD’s.
The big question is: if Ayala is able to somewhat stifle the GHS running game, can Denerson step up, pick apart the Bulldogs defense, and lead the program to victory?
It is arguably the biggest game of his career.
Denerson’s two playmakers are Reggie Johnson and Jojo Najarro, who have combined to catch 18 passes for 411 yards, and have five of the Tartans’ seven receiving TD’s.
The GHS defense doesn’t get enough credit, especially considering they surrender an average of just nine points per game.
One thing that is for certain, and it’s that win or lose, both Ayala and Glendora will benefit down the line because of the challenge they face on Friday.
Lastly, we asked both coaches to touch on the match up as they see it.
Ayala coach, Arthur Gracia: “I think the game takes on a different meaning with the new CIF playoffs system. Obviously, not being in the same league means a league title isn’t on the line, but there is plenty to play for. Both teams are trying to remain unbeaten and rise in the ranks for the playoffs. It is Glendora’s Homecoming, so there is plenty for both sides to be motivated and give their best effort.
Our secondaries ability to cover in the pass game and come up to make tackles in the run game will be a major factor if we want to slow down their explosive offense. Offensively, QB Bryan Wilson will need to have a great game if we want to be effective against their physical defense.
Braydon Brus offensively, defensively, and on special teams, will have to be a focus of our team. He is so dynamic as a football player and it’s important to know where he is at all times. Offensively, they run the ball with physicality and are very effective in play action in the pass game. Defensively, it all starts with them up front and the pressures that they bring. We have to focus on doing a good job picking up their movement and aggressiveness up front in the run and pass game. Their secondary is much improved from last season and will be a great battle with our WRs. Like any big game, turnovers play a major factor. We need to focus on running the ball and passing the ball efficiently. Whichever team can slow down the other teams run game and make big plays in the passing game will have the advantage.”
Glendora coach, Brandon Rohrer: “We are a completely different team than we were a few months ago. I wouldn’t say it is one player, but many players that have improved significantly since last spring. We need to contain their running backs while they are on offense and be stout against their front-seven on defense. It’s our Homecoming game at Citrus College and against a great team. What more can you ask for?
We have 100% confidence in Jake Denerson (to get the job done). We need to execute in all three phases to win this game.”
By the numbers:
Records: Ayala (6-0); Glendora (6-0)
Points scored: Ayala (211); Glendora (204)
Points allowed: Ayala (76); Glendora (55)
Most points scored in a game: Ayala (42); Glendora (49)
Most points allowed in a game: Ayala (21); Glendora (14)
Maxpreps state ranking: Ayala (53); Glendora (78)
Total offense (yards) per game: Ayala (335); Glendora (267)
Individual stat leaders:
Ayala: Bryan Wilson: 48 of 95 for 728 yards, eight TD’s, two interceptions
Glendora: Jake Denerson: 32 of 70 for 652 yards, seven TD’s, three interceptions
Ayala: CJ Sento: 71-409 yards, five TD’s; Eddie Huerta: 35-272, three TD’s; Jacob Munoz: 28-217, two TD’s
Glendora: Braydon Brus: 62-494, 11 TD’s; Zach Ford: 56-295, four TD’s
Ayala: Dominic Alloway: 14 catches for 235 yards, three TD’s; Lytallion Payne: 13-203, three TD’s; Drew Merrill: 6-126, two TD’s
Glendora: Jojo Najarro: 12-227, three TD’s; Reggie Johnson: 6-184, three TD’s
Ayala: Arthur Gracia: (40-16)
Brandon Rohrer: (31-5)
Head to Head: Gracia (2-1)
Ayala vs Glendora scores:
2021 spring season: Ayala 35, Glendora 0
2019: Ayala 13, Glendora 7
2018: Glendora 45, Ayala 38
2017: Glendora 35, Ayala 14
2016: Ayala 26, Glendora 21
2015: Glendora 39, Ayala 14
8/20: Ayala 21, Chino Hills 20
8/27: Ayala 35, Los Altos 0
9/2: Ayala 42, Diamond Ranch 7
9/10: Ayala 40, Los Osos 21
9/16: Ayala 42, Tustin 7
9/23: La Habra 31, La Habra 21
10/1: Ayala vs Glendora at Citrus College
10/8: Bye week
10/15: Alta Loma at Ayala
10/22: Bonita at Ayala
10/29: Ayala at Charter Oak
8/20: GHS 22, West Ranch 14
8/27: GHS 42, Covina 7
9/3: GHS 28, Charter Oak 14
9/9: GHS 49, Los Altos 14
9/16: GHS 28, West Covina 6
9/24: GHS 35, Diamond Ranch 0
10/1: Ayala vs GHS at Citrus College
10/8: Bye week
10/14: Colony at GHS
Citrus 4 League standings:
Los Osos (0-5)
South Hills (0-5)
10/22: GHS at Los Osos
10/29: South Hills at GHS
Mountain West League standings:
Alta Loma (5-0)
Charter Oak (4-2)
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