Joshua Ward, punishing defense, lead San Pedro to 21-6 victory over Eagle Rock: 5 takeaways

SAN PEDRO — San Pedro senior tailback Joshua Ward rushed for two scores and the Pirates’ defense held an Eagle Rock offense that scored over 40 points in week zero to single digits Thursday night en route to a 21-6 win. The game was played at San Pedro’s Daniels Field because their home stadium was not ready yet after recently receiving sod.

Here are five takeaways from the game.

TOP PERFORMERS

Ward reached 100 yards rushing on his two touchdowns alone and also made plays on defense at linebacker. Junior Joshua Johnson caught a touchdown and recorded an interception. Senior Roko Zuvic recovered an Eagle Rock fumble.

THEY SAID IT

San Pedro head coach Corey Miller had some glowing words for his senior running back after the game.

“Josh is special. As he goes, we go. It’s happened two weeks in a row.”

Ward rushed for two touchdowns in last week’s season-opening 25-0 win over North Torrance.

IT WAS OVER WHEN

Eagle Rock hung around, but the Eagles were always going to struggle to win after going down two scores with the way their offense played. San Pedro’s defense routinely hit Eagle Rock quarterback Axel Ayers. The senior never looked comfortable, so when Ward rushed for his 86-yard touchdown at the end of the first half to put San Pedro up 14-0, Eagle Rock was in trouble.

ASSESSING EAGLE ROCK

The Eagles played great defense all night. Senior defensive lineman Alan Cisneros is a great run stuffer. That side of the ball should keep the Eagles in most games this season.

The problems pop up when Eagle Rock plays against a good defense. Ayers, the team’s quarterback, is a wide receiver by trade. He’s a great athlete, but he never really settled in to Thursday’s game. The offensive line is inexperienced, which doesn’t help any quarterback, especially one that is new to the position.

WARD’S POTENTIAL

Every year there is a City Section football player who caps off their senior season with a college scholarship. Someone who worked their tail off all four years and finally sees their hard work pay off at the 11th hour. I’m not talking about one of Narbonne’s all-star prospects or Luca Diamont at Venice, guys who have been offered and recruited for years.

It’s players like Reseda’s Ja’Lani Ellison (Wyoming) in 2017 and San Fernando’s Kyle Bryant (Eastern Washington) from a season ago that come to mind. Both were City Section kids who played for their hometown teams and were offered scholarships very late. The 2019 version of this should be Joshua Ward.

Ward is talented, versatile and hard working. He’s a competitor whose body of work warrants college looks. If he continues to average two rushing TDs a game, recruiters will have no choice but to offer.

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