La Puente — Quarterback Tyler Lee trusted his arm in the first half and relied on Ryan DeMarois in the second half after losing star running back Caden Kulp for the game due to injury in Trinity Classical Academy 44-29 non-league victory over Southlands Christian of Walnut on Friday night at Nogales High School.
Lee completed 14 of 28 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 83 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns. With Kulp out of the game, DeMarois did the majority of the running, rushing for 115 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 40 yards.
“Caden supported me on the sideline to be a leader and step it up tonight,” Lee said. “Ryan came through, going back to running back and getting a lot of first downs in the fourth quarter for us. It was team work all the way.”
Kulp had the majority of the yardage in the first half for the Knights (3-1), with four catches for 87 yards and seven carries for 51 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with a leg injury. DeMarois stepped in to fill the void on both sides of the ball, leading the defense with 11 tackles and two sacks. Lee added four tackles of his own on defense with Kulp out.
“It was a herculean effort for Ryan and Tyler to cover up for Caden,” said Trinity coach Les Robinson. “Our line did a great job in opening up holes. It was just a great team effort. We really had to persevere, come together and play because when you lose Caden Kulp, you lose a major weapon. He draws a lot of coverage and we missed him.”
DeMarois was trouble for Southlands Christian (1-3) and quarterback Adrian Albarran, who only completed 5 of 19 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown with an interception (picked off by Koby Schafer). Schafer also caught four passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. Eagles running back Samson Tufui rushed for 181 yards with a touchdown on 31 carries. He also had 10 tackles.
Luke Masters had seven tackles for the Knights, whose next challenge will be neighborhood rival Santa Clarita Christian on Saturday Oct. 1 in the “Faith Bowl”
“We just have to stay conditioned,” Lee said. “We just have to sharpen up our plays and stay focused next week.”