Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rio Mesa Is Improving

Friday was high school football day as it should be on a Halloween weekend.

First up was our son Michael's Hueneme H.S. J.V. game against the Pacifica Tritons. The Hueneme squad was outmanned as only 19 Vikings suited up for the game against the Tritons 40+ man roster. I was proud to see how hard the Hueneme players continue to play despite their record and the long odds. In the end, the Tritons just had too much for the 1-7 Vikings as they won 49-6. Next up for Hueneme is a home game against Oxnard.

Because of my new duties as the Spartan's morale/U.N. peacekeeper coach, I had to leave Michael's game at halftime to drive to Rio Mesa (3-4, 1-1 Pacific View League) for our homecoming game against Channel Islands (2-5, 0-2 PVL).

One of our core coaching beliefs is that you play like you practice. We made a real effort to pick up the pace and tempo of our practices this past week and the players responded well. By the end of Thursday's practice I really felt as if our players believed that they deserved to win because of their preparation.

As I have stated here before, the Rio Mesa games this season have been high scoring affairs ala the Italian Football League, not fun for a lover of defense but interesting to watch.

It was because of the potential for an IFL-like game that my good friend David Lassen attended the game, it was really good to see him. David, who for years was an excellent sports writer for the Ventura County Star, now works for a paper in Riverside covering the Dodgers, Lakers and Clippers.

Last night there would be both offense and defense for once.

Our team's 44 man roster only lists 13 Seniors. Of these 13 seniors, only eight are starters. As is typical with a team this young, it has taken half the season for the players to find their roles and gel as a unit. Our offense has become a run first affair with highly efficient passing adding to the mix. On defense, we are finally starting to perform up to everyone's expectations as we have settled down a bit in only allowing one TD in the second half of last week's game

Jordan Nunnery
15 carries, 105 yards, 1 TD
3 receptions, 30 yards

To sum up the Homecoming, there were fireworks at halftime as well as all game long for the Spartans. Five different running backs scored TDs for Rio Mesa as the Spartans rushed for 460 yards on the night, averaging an incredible 10.2 yards per carry.

Marcus Alford
3 carries, 50 yards, 1 TD

The "Fog Monster" made a special Halloween appearance during the third quarter only.

Payton Palmer-Newton
1 carry, 11 yards

Payton does a great job as our Scout Team QB during the week although he is a WR by trade. It was really good to see him get a carry during the game, he earned it.

Blair Benchwick
6 for 8 Passing, 92 yards

We were able to keep the Raiders honest by completing seven of our nine passes for 98 yards. Moving the rock for 558 total yards of offense is a good thing!

Tanner Wrout and Joe Alamillo
Running to the Football

Tanner had another fine all-around game at MLB and FB. Offensively, he had 13 carries for 141 yards and 3 TDs. Joe is an undersized OLB with an oversized heart and led our team in tackles.

We played inspired defense as well in holding C.I. to only seven points. The Spartans followed the game plan, read their keys well and executed game time adjustments to near perfection.

The final score was Rio Mesa 47 - Channel Islands 7.

The Spartans (4-4, 2-1 PVL) travel to Pacifica next Friday to take on the Tritons (4-4, 2-1 PVL) in a key Pacific View League contest. Pacifica beat Hueneme 56-14 on Friday night. The winner of our game next week will still have a shot at earning one of the league's two guaranteed playoff spots and the possiblity of winning a piece of the PVL crown.


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