Sunday, November 14, 2010

Battle for the Title

If it's Friday, another afternoon and evening of exciting high school football in Ventura County was in order.

The first stop was at Channel Islands H.S. where our son Michael's Hueneme H.S. J.V. team was playing their season finale.


Hueneme, in their white jerseys, started the game with this big 30 yard run by their transplanted guard, #62, at running back.


The Vikings played the best defense of the year in slowing down the Raiders and only trailing 7-0 at the half.

Here comes a blitz

As usual, I had to leave Mike's game at halftime to get to Rio Mesa in time for our pre-game activities. Laurie stayed at Channel Islands and proudly reported that the Vikings hung in there until the end missing a two-point conversion late in the contest before falling 14-12. Despite their final 1-9 record, the kids on the team kept battling and did improve. A lot of time in the weight room during the next nine months will really help these kids as they continue on their football journey.

Meanwhile at Rio Mesa, the Spartans (5-4, 3-1 Pacific View League) were hosting our crosstown rivals, the Camarillo Scorpions (7-2, 4-0 PVL). Besides bragging rights, a share of the PVL championship was on the line. The Scorpions already earned at least a piece of the title with their 4-0 league record in cluding a win over Oxnard (7-2, 3-1 PVL).

If we could pull off the upset, we would be at least Co-Champs with Camarillo but more likely Tri-Champs if heavily favored Oxnard beat Pacifica (4-5, 2-2 PVL).

We had a great week of practice and the team was incredibly focused all week long. The general feeling was that we both expected and deserved to win based on our preparation.

The game was a contrast in offensive styles to say the least. Camarillo was a passing machine, averaging 36.8 points per game. Their QB was the leading passer in Ventura County having completed 65% of his 306 passes for 2,703 yards, 23 TDs and only 5 interceptions. They had two receivers who ranked #2 and #3 in the county with 69 catches for 867 yards and 57 receptions for 853 yards. Their RB also keeps you honest with with 751 yards on the ground and 14 TDs.

The Spartan offense is ground based but also puts lots of points on the board at a 34.6 points per game pace. Jordan Nunnery entered the game with 980 yards rushing and 8 TDs. Tanner Wrout had 943 yards rushing with 10 TD runs. Our QB Blair Benchwick had also contributed 1,153 yards through the air with 12 TD strikes.

It was now time to tee it up and I believed we were really ready!

Senior, Marcus Alford, WR/DB

Marcus had a GREAT game for us! He had 6 carries for 108 yards and 2 TDs, caught a 31 yard TD pass and did a splendid job covering the Scorpion receivers.

Junior, Jordan Nunnery, RB/DB

Jordan was a workhorse for us in the Fourth Quarter. On the night he had 29 carries that netted 151 yards and scored a TD. He also did yeoman's work in pass coverage.

Sophomore, Tim Dominguez, Kicker

This is Tim's first season playing football and he had a memorable night kicking two Field Goals (27 and 25 yards) and continually pinning the Scorpions deep in their own end of the field with precise pooch kickoffs.

Tim would give us the early 3-0 lead with this kick.

Senior, Clarence McBride, DE/OT

This was a huge strip by Clarence that the Spartans recovered deep in Scorpion territory and would lead to a Rio Mesa TD.

I believe the word is . . . TOAST!!!

Benchwick's 31 yard TD strike on the first play after the fumble recovery upped the Spartan lead to 10-0 in the first stanza.

Spartan QB Blair Benchwick helped keep the Camarillo defense off balance going 6 for 7 passing for 73 critical yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions.

The Spartan offense would rack up 393 yards of Total Offense on 60 plays.

The Pit

Games are won or lost here and on Friday, November 12, 2010 at John Reardon Field the Spartans thoroughly controlled this area from start to finish.

Marcus Alford would take the Criss-Cross play to the house 66 yards away in the Second Quarter to make it 17-0 but Camarillo did finally get in the end zone with 19 ticks left on the clock to make it 17-7 at the half.

The Third Quarter saw the Spartans eating up more clock and enjoying the fruits of incredible field position. Dominguez added his second Field Goal to make it 20-7 after three periods.

Alford's 14 yard Jet Sweep for a TD made it 27-7 with 5:55 left in the game. The Scorpions then mounted a solid drive ending with a 4 yard TD pass to make it 27-14 with 4:07 left but Spartan TE Ben Quantock recovered the ensuing onside kickoff.

At this point the Jordan Nunnery Show was in full bloom and he tallied the final Spartan points with a 13 yard TD scamper at the 1:13 mark to make it 34-14.

The Scorpions final drive was academic. Our defensive goal was to keep them in bounds, keep the clock running, and not let Camarillo strike quickly or in big chunks. Camarillo would put up the last points of the game with an 18 yard TD strike with only 7 seconds left in the game.

Hey Seniors, how did you do against Camarillo when you were
Seniors back in 2010?

We dominated them 34-21!!!

We completely controlled all three phases of the game. There was never really much of a threat from Camarillo once the game began. I have always believed that you play like you practice. The 2010 Camarillo-Rio Mesa game will always be a great example of this coaching axiom!

For more details, go to the Ventura County Star article by Joe Curley on the game at

After the game a coin flip was held because Oxnard did indeed beat Pacifica 55-23 to make it a three way tie for the 2010 Pacific View League title. Since the three of us beat each other in league play, it was up to the fates to decide the final order of standing to deteremine which two teams got the two automatic bids to the C.I.F. Western Division playoffs and which one would have to hope for one of the four at-large berths in the six league, 16 team playoff bracket.

Our Principal Ray Gonzalez is thankfully a very lucky man as it turns out! The Spartans (6-4, 4-1 PVL) won the flip and we are the #1 team out of our league guaranteeing a home game next Friday in the opening round of the playoffs. Camarillo (7-3, 4-1 PVL) got the #2 league designation and an automatic playoff bid. The odd man out was Oxnard (8-2, 4-1 PVL) as our league's at-large candidate. With their 8-2 season record, I would be shocked if the Yellowjackets did not earn an at-large spot when the playoff pairings are announced on Sunday morning.

What a great league run for our embattled team and coaches!

1 comment:

Johan said...

Congrats on the huge win and the way the team has turned around!