By Ryan Kuhn
Mission High School proved exactly why its defense is the best in the Academic Athletic Association, as the visiting Bears shut down Lowell in a 20-0 win on Friday.
The Bears (7-3, 6-1) held the Lowell power running game to just 82 yards and claimed second place in the AAA with the win.
“We played really well on defense,” said Mission head coach Joe Albano. “It was about controlling the line of scrimmage.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Bears scored first early in the second quarter, when junior Antoine Porter took a punt 57 yards for a score.
“I just needed to score to get my team pumped up,” Porter said.
Lowell’s (5-4, 4-3) deficit got even greater, as Mission put together a nine-play, 48-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by running back Algeron Malbrough with 29 seconds remaining in the half.
In the second half, Albano chose to drop quarterback Davon Hargraves in the shotgun and it payed off, as Hargraves ran for 46 yards in the half and put the game away with a 25-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior Laron Davis late in the fourth quarter.
“We were a little nervous with the rain getting the snaps underneath center, so we thought we would have a better chance out of the shotgun,” Albano said.
The Cardinals will have a chance to get redemption next week, as they will face Mission in the AAA semifinals, likely at Kezar Stadium.
“I think our team plays better on grass,” said Lowell head coach Danny Chan said. “It’s going to be tough to get past Mission. We are really going have to grow up fast.”
After seeing the Bears defense first-hand, Lowell quarterback Will Frankel said the Cardinals will have an advantage in their second meeting.
“I think they are going to be a little overconfident and we are going to capitalize on that,” Frankel said. “We have a big week ahead of us.”
M: 10:13 — Antoine Porter 57-yard punt return (kick good)
M: 0:29 — Algeron Malbrough 5-yard run (kick good)
M: 3:19 — Laron Davis 25-yard pass from Devon Hargraves (kick failed)