ARLETA – It didn’t take long for Arleta running back Dejon Coleman to heat up against Jefferson in a non-league afternoon game at Arleta High School.
Coleman scored three touchdowns, two in the first half, on long runs in Arleta’s 45-7 win over visiting Jefferson.
“He’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached and I’ve been doing this for 17 years,” Arleta coach Dan Kelley said. “Am I surprised by his performance? No. He’s a game-breaker.”
Coleman gained 318 yards in 11 carries, averaging 28.9 yards per carry. He scored on runs of 73, 66 and 47 yards. He did most of his damage in the first three quarters. With Arleta up by 38 points at the end of the third quarter, the fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
Coleman played one series in the fourth quarter and sat out the rest of the game.
His first touchdown came in the first quarter on a 73-yard run to give Arleta a 16-0 lead. He also scored three two-point conversions.
Coleman’s second touchdown came on the second play of the second quarter. Arleta (7-1) recovered a fumbled snap by Jefferson (7-1) on their own 34-yard line. Coleman took a pitch and ran it in from 66 yards away to give Arleta a 23-0 lead.
Jefferson’s only touchdown came on the very next play. George Reed returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and cut the Arleta lead to 23-7.
Arleta quarterback Mark Lemos pushed the Mustangs' lead to 30-7 with his second rushing touchdown of the game just before halftime. He scored on a quarterback sneak from a yard out and also had a 26-yard run for a touchdown in the first quarter.
“Mark’s a great quarterback, an accurate passer,” Kelley said. “Him and Dejon work together in the backfield.”
Coleman’s third touchdown came midway through the third quarter. On third-and-2 from the Jefferson 47, Coleman took a little pitch and cut down the sideline to give Arleta a 38-7 lead.
Arleta capped their scoring with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Lemos to Jose Jimenez in the third quarter.
Lemos was 6-for-8 passng for 139 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 18 yards and scored two touchdowns on the ground.
Fumbles and turnovers cost Jefferson several opportunities to score. The Democrats fumbled seven snaps and lost three of them. Isaac Walker was making his first start at quarterback because the team's regular quarterback, James Williams, did not play because of disciplinary reasons.
Jefferson coach David Wiltz said Williams missed some classes and had “problems with teachers on Monday.” It was evident that Walker was having trouble with exchanges with his center and it disrupted the flow of Jefferson’s double wing offense.
“Fumbles will always kill you,” Wiltz said. “You can’t win a game with seven fumbles.”
Jefferson running back Marcus Stamps rushed for 115 yards in 11 carries. Walker was 8-of-11 passing for 122 yards and completed six passes in a row.
But Jefferson made too many mistakes on offense. Wiltz said he hopes his players learned a lesson in accoutability after the loss.
“You guys have to be accountable for yourselves,” Wiltz said. “This is going to be the result when we play a well-coached team like Arleta.”
For Coleman, he has scored 36 touchdowns in eight games this season. He has gained 1,523 yards on the ground and scored 28 rushing touchdowns. This was his second 300-yard and third 200-yard rushing game of the season.