LA South: Big plays help Bishop Amat shut out Garfield

Bishop Amat's Zachary Shay led the big-play Lancers with two long punt returns and a 68-yard touchdown jaunt in a 23-0 victory over Garfield at East L.A. College on Friday.

Bishop Amat, with USC-bound baseball star Rio Ruiz playing his first game at quarterback since he was with the freshman team two years ago, struggled to move the ball against an aggressive and athletic Garfield defense, but got all the points it needed on a blocked punt just 80 seconds into the game.

Aaron Bowens took the ball off Garfield punter Victor Carillo's foot near the goal line and stepped into the end zone for a 7-0 lead. Shay returned punts 54 and 65 yards, but Amat capitalized only on the second, which led to Andrew Carillo's 23-yard field goal to make it 17-0 in the third quarter.

Ruiz completed 10 of 17 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns, but the longest pass play was a short throw to Shay, who caught the ball at the line of scrimmage, stepped through a hole and outran the Garfield defense for Amat's second TD.

The last score, an 11-yard Ruiz-to-Anthony Carillo pass, was set up by Nick Casarez's 92-yard interception return to the Garfield 8.

The Lancers totaled just six first downs and 27 yards rushing.

Garfield, much better than the score suggests, was led by quarterback Leandro Vaal (14 of 28 for 117 yards, connecting with seven receivers) and fullback Danny Vargas (62 yards rushing on 10 carries).

The defensive star was Amat defensive end Julian Gener, who sacked Vaal twice, pressured the QB all night and repeatedly made tackles at the line of scrimmage.

Garfield had 13 first downs and outgained Amat, 212-191.

Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty: “We need to keep practicing. We've got a lot of young kids, and we made an awful lot of mistakes. But I'm sure we'll look at the film, and we'll correct things. The biggest improvement, I think, on most teams is from week one to week two. I think our kids will have a little better perspective at practice. And we'll figure out it isn't that easy to be really good. We've got to keep working at it.”