GLENDORA -- After the dust had settled and Bonita had hoisted the Smudge Pot trophy for the second straight year, Bearcats coach Eric Podley could breathe a sigh of relief.
"This means a renewal of my contract," Podley said jokingly. "I'll be back next year."
All kidding aside, Bonita looked like the team that reached the Southeast Division championship game last season, beating rival San Dimas handily, 40-20, in the annual Smudge Pot game Thursday night at Citrus College. The Bearcats claimed the hardware for the second straight season and have inched closer in the head-to-head series, which San Dimas now leads 22-17-1.
"The first goal we always have when we meet as a team, our number one goal, is to keep coach Podley employed," Podley said with a smile, not shying away from speaking in the third-person.
The Bearcats (1-0) led 10-6 at halftime before outscoring the Saints (0-1) 17-0 in the third quarter. Tailback Cameron Griffin had a pair of touchdown runs to go along with 64 yards rushing, receiver Garrett Horine scored twice and tailback Reggie Turner added another.
"We'll be running the ball a lot more this year," Griffin said. "You'll see more touchdowns."
What Bonita accomplished last season might be hard to top, but the Bearcats appear primed to make another run in the competitive Hacienda League.
San Dimas, meanwhile, struggled to generate forward movement in coach Bill Zernickow's Wing-T offense.
Saints senior quarterback Shawn Kennedy, who missed the 2010 season because of a shoulder injury, completed 6 of 16 passes for 63 yards passing. Dillon Corona was limited to 38 yards in 12 carries. DeVante Brown was the lone bright spot, accumulating 160 yards of total offense, including an 86-yard touchdown scamper that gave San Dimas a brief lead in the second quarter. For the most part, the Saints stalled against Bonita's defensive front.
"I thought they had a good defense," Zernickow said. "I thought they were solid. It was right on us. ... Our kids have to learn to take care of the ball when they're fighting for extra yards."
The Smudge Pot game, which began in 1972 when the mayors of San Dimas and La Verne agreed to exchange a trophy, kept up with recent tradition in drawing a large crowd. Citrus College's 10,000-seat stadium filled in nicely.
And, as far as Podley is concerned, he'll at least be coaching in next year's game too.
"That's the most important thing," Podley said, smiling.