North Torrance Vs. L.b. Jordan Ftb. 8 18 2023 705
Football Jordan

Football: Jordan Finishes Non-League Season Undefeated

The562’s coverage of football in 2023-24 is sponsored in part by the MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center Foundation and Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Foundation

In a grueling contest that lasted three hours and fifteen minutes, the Jordan Panthers outlasted the La Mirada Matadores 28-18 to finish their non-league season a perfect 4-0 just like they did last season.

“It was a good win, but we have a lot to clean up,” Jordan coach Jon Nielsen said. “We need to be better conditioned.”

The game started and stayed sloppy for both teams as penalties and failed mental assignments piled up to stall or ruined promising drives throughout the game. That was clearly the storyline in the first quarter when they both wasted trips to the red zone in a scoreless 12 minutes.

La Mirada again threatened early in the second quarter thanks to a 4th & 5 circus catch conversion to bring the Matadors to the Jordan 15-yard line. The Panthers’ defense bent, but did not break, forcing a field goal attempt that was missed.

With this momentum, the Panthers’ offense roared like an F1 engine and went into a hurry up without huddling. Gaining a key first down from senior wideout Jake Bautista, senior quarterback JJ Nielsen would do the rest of the literal legwork, going 70 yards on a draw play for the first points of the night.

The Panthers would strike again, as they forced a fumble on the Matadors’ next possession. On the next play, Nielsen dotted sophomore Donovin Randolph in stride for a 37-yard score. Panthers led 14-0 half way through the second quarter.

Jordan sophomore defensive back Pickle Spears would lead his defense with two interceptions.

La Mirada seized an opportunity after a Panther fumble with under two minutes left in the half. Junior Isaiah Robbins had a 40-yard touchdown catch to make it 14-6 at halftime.

On the sidelines, Jordan offensive line coach Rocky Lucero said, “The day we are strong mentally is the day we are dangerous,” commenting about the team’s mental toughness and discipline.

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In the second half, La Mirada forced two turnovers on Jordan’s next two drives, an interception in the endzone, and a fumble at midfield. The Matadors capitalized on the fumble, with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 14-12. with 5:12 left in the third quarter.

The Panthers would strike back with another Nielsen running score, this time for 60 yards, to make it 21-12.

La Mirada would suck the life out of the Jordan sideline, as they would march down the field and threaten a score. However, again, the Jordan defense bent, but did not break. The defensive backfield came up huge in a red zone stand, and with a little luck, forced a turnover on downs on the 10-yard line at the end of the third quarter.

Jordan would try to place the dagger in the next drive, yet penalties would stall the drive, forcing a turnover on downs at the La Mirada 12. Luckily, on the next possession, Spears would come up with his biggest interception of the night, putting the Panthers back in the red zone.

After a few passes to senior receiver Gerald Pickens, Nielsen would sling it to senior receiver Deonte Tucker on a slant for the score. The Panthers led 28-12 with 8:20 left in the game.

La Mirada came right back with a score of their own, on a wide open 30-yard throw. The Matadors would try to go for two, yet Spears would come up with his second pick of the night to cap the scoring.

“We need to get better individually,” Coach Nielsen said. “We are going to have a long film session because there is a lot to clean up.”

The Panthers have a bye next week.

“This next week will not only help us physically, but it will help us mentally, so we can regroup and focus, especially for our senior leaders,” said Spears.

“The next four weeks determine our faith. The 4-0 (record) is just boxes checked, and it is a ten week season,” Coach Nielsen added.

The Panthers open up Moore League competition on Sept. 22 at home against Millikan at 7 p.m.

VIDEO: Jordan vs. La Mirada, Football
Sean Kenneally
Born and raised in Los Alamitos, Sean Kenneally started covering football his senior year at Los Alamitos High School in 2018. Sean is a recent Sonoma State University graduate, where he continued to cover sports during his academic career. Outside of the classroom, Sean was a four year member of the Sonoma State Men’s Lacrosse team, and he participated in the Surfrider Foundation.