The sight of star athlete, Teondray Caldwell, on crutches before the Thursday night game at Venice High appeared to mean a long night for the Gondoliers. Caldwell, out with a leg injury left a big void in the Gondoliers offense. However, Venice head coach Angelo Gasca had his team prepared to play hard with whoever was on the field. On a foggy, chilly night in Venice, the Gondoliers were defeated 30-37 by Chaminade High (West Hills, CA).
Early on the Gondoliers struck first when junior quarterback, Dean Sarabia, connected on a 68-yard touchdown pass with senior wideout, Frank Murray, to give Venice the early 7-0 lead. After the quick strike, Chaminade started to pound the ball with a steady dose of the running game. Senior tailback, Tru Jarvis, had three touchdowns in the first half and 81 yards rushing for the game. "I give all my credit to the offensive line. They opened those holes for me." said Jarvis. Jarvis had a dazzling 46-yard touchdown run in the first quarter when the hole wasn’t there and broke to the other side showing electrifying speed. With 3:31 left in the first quarter, the Gondoliers had a costly fumble on their own 15, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by Jarvis.
Venice struggled with field position early on with poor special teams and costly turnovers. "In the first quarter we're still trying to find ourselves, where do we fit in the offense." Gasca said. The Gondoliers were on their end of the field for most of the first quarter which made it tough on a defense missing key players. Chaminade looked to be on their way to a rout when they took a 22-7 early in the second quarter. The Gondoliers needed a big play and got it from their "go-to-guy" as head coach Gasca said, Frank Murray. Sarabia hit Murray on a 46-yard reception to put the Gondoliers in the red zone. After a field goal the lead was cut to 22-10. Before the half, Sarabia had Venice threatening again, but threw a costly interception in the end zone on a pass intended for Murray.
In the third quarter, Sarabia hit senior, Larry Clark, on an 84-yard touchdown pass. Clark caught the pass over the middle and showed tremendous speed has he streaked past the Chaminade secondary. Sarabia then connected with Frank Murray again on a 40-yard touchdown pass as Murray got behind the secondary to give Venice a 23-22 lead.
As Venice had all the momentum going in their favor, Sarabia threw an untimely interception in the fourth quarter. Chaminade took advantage of the turnover as they went back to the run game and pounded the tired Venice defense. Chaminade sophomore tailback, Terrell Newby, brought fresh legs to the lineup and racked up the yards. Newby got behind his linemen and scored his first of two touchdowns with 6:53 left to play giving Chaminade a 30-23 lead after a successful two-point conversion. Newby finished the game with 97 yards rushing.
Murray, who had been a star all night long, fumbled the kickoff return giving Chaminade the ball back in the red zone. Newby scored his second touchdown of the night putting Venice behind 37-23. Sarabia drove Venice right back down and hit Larry Clark for his fourth touchdown pass of the night cutting the lead to 37-30, but that was how it would end.
Coach Gasca summed up his team's performance best, "They just played to the end, they fought to the end...it was fun, I wanna win don't get me wrong, but Im proud of them."
The Gondoliers found more weapons on offense in Clark and Murray. They can only improve when Caldwell gets back in the lineup. The schedule does not get any easier for Venice (1-2). They will face St. Francis (La Canada, CA) and Bishop Amat (La Puente, CA) in the next three weeks.