LATHROP – Steve Wichman wanted to see crisp.
He wanted to see an offense that was aggressive off the ball, controlling in its possession and poised as it moved downfield.
And that’s exactly what he got Friday night at Bennie Gatto Field when the Spartans rolled their way to a 24-8 victory over Liberty Ranch Hawks, giving his young squad the first step towards the one thing he says they need heading into a stacked schedule.
“The gameplan tonight was to have our offense come out and spread the ball around to multiple players and establish the ground game and I think that we did that with confidence,” said Lathrop’s second-year head coach. “And it worked so well for us that we didn’t see a reason to change from that. Hawaii (Leafa Teo) ran the ball very hard and made a lot of things happen tonight, and our offensive line blocked very well.
“We played with physicality and adapted well to what they were trying to do. We knew that they were going to come with different looks and different directions but our guys stayed home and executed. They did it with tenacity, and it’s a step towards momentum and a little bit of belief.”
Leafa Teo served as the workhorse for Lathrop’s offense and accounted for two of the Spartan’s first three scores, busting between the tackles and accumulating tough yards that helped secure 10 first downs in the first half. He finished with 131 yards on 21 and carries the pair of scores despite sitting out the fourth quarter with a cramp.
Seeing everything run smoothly and efficiently, he said, was what the team worked all week on and it was good to see it translate.
“We had a perfect practice and when we came out tonight we were able to stay on track and keep our heads down and play hard,” he said. “We played as a team tonight and I think that it’s truly a team win.”
Lathrop quarterback Diego Chavez accounted for the team’s other two scores – first finding Nathan Ogunbanwo on a pop-pass across the middle for a 40-yard score, and then connecting with Keenan Donatelli for an end zone flare.