Los Angeles Preps: Delvin Batiste
November, 25, 2011
By Blair Angulo | ESPNLosAngeles.com
UPLAND -- With his team uniting for the postgame huddle near midfield, Kenny Lawler looked up over his left shoulder, and uttered a rhetorical question.
"You guys see a 40 up on the scoreboard?" Lawler asked.
The answer: Yes, because Upland, No. 8 in the ESPN Los Angeles prep football rankings, blew past No. 17-ranked Charter Oak, 51-13, Friday night to advance to the Inland Division semifinals. The other answer: No, because Charter Oak -- which like Upland was averaging exactly 44 points heading into the game -- didn't hold up its end of the deal. The No. 3-seeded Highlanders will face No. 2-seeded Vista Murrieta, which handled Riverside J.W. North, 58-14.
"Charter Oak was putting points up on everybody," Upland coach Tim Salter said. "That got us excited."
Upland (12-0) got balanced production on offense, led by Lawler's 195 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Tailback Donta Abron Jr. rushed for 191 yards and four touchdowns in 32 carries and quarterback Nate Romine passed for 291 yards in only 15 attempts.
"We have a lot of talent across the board," Abron Jr. said. "Other teams don't know what we're going to throw at them."
The explosiveness was supposed to go both ways but, instead, a running clock was used at the start of the fourth quarter. Really, it was an unexpected one-sided affair. The Upland defense came up with a safety midway through the third quarter and, on the very next play from scrimmage, Romine threw it up to Lawler for a 48-yard touchdown and comfortable 30-6 lead.
Knockout punch delivered.
"They had a better football team than us," Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar said.