PETALUMA - When it was over last Friday night, with the thumping finally concluded and the record made, Casa Grande quarterback JaJuan Lawson walked up to teammate John Porchivina and gave his running back a compliment that would appear so lame.
“Thanks, Porch,” Lawson said. That's it, that's all — Thanks, Porch.
Just two words, yet they had more meaning behind them than a page in a Russian novel. Thanks, Porch, for grabbing the spotlight. Thanks, Porch, for making life easier for me, and more difficult for those trying to defend us. Thanks, Porch, for giving a defense another headache.
“I'm a defensive coordinator,” said Casa coach Trent Herzog, “but if I was designing a game plan to stop JaJuan and Porch, I wouldn't be getting much sleep the week before I played them.”
So this week it's been Cardinal Newman's turn to buy a Costco-size portion of Excedrin PM. The two teams play for the North Bay League title at Newman tonight, although undefeated Casa has clinched at least a tie. It is a truism, maybe the most recognized of all truth about Empire football, that the road to a championship always goes through Cardinal Newman.
Which, of course, makes the lead-up to this game all the more intriguing.
How does a team with a most solid coaching staff — “I've always said Paul Cronin is the best coach in the area,” Herzog said — put the kibosh on an offense that has two seniors who will play Division I football next fall?
That Casa's offense feels like it's traveling downhill at light speed is not as much hyperbole as it seems. Last Friday night against Windsor, Porchivina set a school rushing record with 301 yards. Hence, the compliment. And just the tip of the influence he and his quarterback have had.
Casa has scored 39 touchdowns this season. Lawson (15 passing, 10 rushing) and Porchivina (10 rushing) have accounted for 90 percent of all the Gauchos' touchdowns.