SAN BERNARDINO – There were the typical first game penalties and mistakes when Etiwanda went to play Aquinas on Thursday night.
While both teams have potent offenses, Aquinas made a couple more big plays and earned a 28-21 nonleague victory in the season opener.
Aquinas scored twice in the second quarter on passes from Dre Robles to Bradley Vander. Near the end of the second quarter, Etiwanda’s Jaden Landrum made a spectacular catch to cut the Falcons’ lead to 14-7.
Aquinas twice extended their lead back to 14 points in the second half, but Etiwanda responded with a touchdown each time. It seemed like a matter of “Can You Top This?”
“Etiwanda is a great football team and they have some talented players,” Aquinas coach Jordan Brusig said. “I’m super proud of our guys. We gave up a couple of big plays, but we played hard all game.”
Brusig cited Vander as an example of a player who stepped up.
“I don’t think he had more than one touchdown all of last year,” said Brusig, who talks about hard work as sowing seeds.
Robles was successful in passing the ball, and he was able to make successful runs even when they weren’t exactly scripted. Robles’ success running the ball allowed Aquinas to find other offensive openings.
“Dre can make plays on his own,” Brusig said.
On their opening drive of the second half, Robles ran for a 14-yard touchdown on third down. He said he likes to play all sports and credits playing a lot of basketball for his good physical conditioning.
“We watched a lot of film on them and I saw how hard they bit on an option,” said Robles, who has a 4.2 GPA and has heard from some Ivy League colleges, but is not close to making a decision. “My goal is to be a pediatrician and I have worked with kids to do physical training;”
Etiwanda came back on the next drive, as Dermaricus Davis connected with Aiden Geye on a 32-yard pass to move the ball to the Aquinas 29. Jaiden Moss scored on a 2-yard run. Things got even better for Etiwanda, when the Eagles had Aquinas pinned back at the 11.
However, sophomore Jusyis “JoJo” Solis raced for an 89-yard touchdown run.