The Orcutt Academy Spartans are heading to the second round of the CIF Southern section football playoffs.
The Spartans (8-2), the No. 2 team from the Mt. Pinos League, dominated the visiting Lancaster Desert Christian Knights 63-8 Friday night in the first round of the 8-Man Division 1 playoffs at Santa Maria High School’s Ralph Baldiviez Stadium.
The Knights (4-6), an at-large team from the Desert Mountain League, had no answer for the powerful Spartans offense while Orcutt Academy’s defense just smothered the Knights.
Orcutt Academy scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions, had their backup quarterback in before halftime and played the entire second half with their third team offense.
“Everyone played. We game-planned pretty well and had a great week of practice,” said Orcutt Academy head coach Doug May. “That loss to Villanova Prep (in the final week of the regular season) stung but the boys shook it off and responded pretty well.”
After the opening kickoff went into the end zone, the Spartans began their first offensive series at their own 15.
That drive lasted just 12 seconds.
On the first play, Eddie Lundberg took a handoff from quarterback Darin Miller, raced to the sideline, turned upfield and blew past the defense for a 65-yard touchdown.
“We put in a new blocking scheme and used it on that first play. Eddie got to the edge and off he went,” said May.
Lundberg then kicked the extra point — he was a perfect 9 for 9 on PATs — for a quick 7-0 lead.
Lundberg came right back out and kicked the ball into the end zone. He kicked off 10 times, sending 8 into the end zone and the other two to just in front of the goal line.
“Eddie never wants to come off the field. He really does it all,” said May. “And that 65-yard touchdown to open the game really set the tone.”
Lundberg ran for 127 yards on nine carries with three touchdowns before his offensive night was over late in the second quarter.
Miller ran for 100 yards on seven carries with two scores while completing 3 of 7 passes for 36 yards and two more touchdowns.
Bryce Coefield gained 30 yards on 8 carries with one touchdown and Ben Luna-Vasquez picked up 45 yards and a touchdown on two carries.
Dominic Nattell gained 26 yards on 4 carries; Jadin Davis gained 23 yards on 3 carries and Aiden Heller picked up 8 yards on two carries. Heller also caught both touchdown passes, one for 6-yards and the other for 24.
The defensive numbers were just as impressive.
The Spartans held the Knights to minus-one yard rushing in the first half, smothering quarterback Martin Rodriguez and running backs Isaiah Holmquist, Noah Bistline and Dakota Eslick.
“The biggest thing we worked on this week was our pursuit drill,” said May. “We wanted to keep them in front of us and you can see how well that worked out.”
They also intercepted Rodriguez three times, blanketing the receivers and keeping Rodriguez to only 6 of 22 passing for 81 yards.
“Orcutt Academy is a great team — a class act,” said Desert Christian head coach Aaron Williams. "They are ranked third for a reason, we’re 14th. We haven’t been to the playoffs in the last five or six years. Last year we had one win so making the playoffs was a bonus for us. It’s a win for us just to get here.”
After forcing a Knights’ punt, the Spartans began their second drive at their own 34. Davis popped off an 11-yard gain to get that drive going. Later Lundberg ran for 16 to give Orcutt Academy a first-and-goal at the 6.
With the defense guessing run, Miller lofted an easy strike to Heller for a 14-0 lead with 7:56 left in the quarter.
Davis then intercepted Rodriguez’s first pass, setting the Spartans up at the Knight’s 18.
Three plays later, Miller ran the ball in from the 9 for a 21-0 lead with 5:58 left in the first.
Desert Christian’s next drive ended with David Canable’s interception.
Miller then pitched the ball to Lundberg who raced in from the 25 for a 28-0 lead with 4:45 left in the quarter.
Later Miller ran off tackle, bounced off a couple Desert Christian defenders and beat everyone to the end zone on an 18-yard touchdown run. The clock showed there was still 2:13 left in the first quarter and with a 35-0 lead, the game was essentially over.
Miller threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Heller and later pitched the ball to Lundberg who ran it in from the 5 for a 49-0 lead with 3:36 left in the half.
Except for Lundberg’s kicking duties, the first team had the rest of the night off.
Max Daniels led the second team offense until halftime then Heller took over as quarterback for the entire second half.
Coefield scored from 5-yards out early in the fourth quarter Luna-Vasquez found a hole off left tackle and was off to the races for a 44-yard score late in the fourth.
Holmquist kept it from being a shutout when he broke through the middle, cut left then right and found clean air as he ran for a 33-yard Desert Christian touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
“Isaiah Holmquist, Martin Rodriguez and Dakota Eslick really played their hearts out,” said Williams. “We only lose three seniors so we’re already pointing toward the playoffs next year.”
“I can’t really single out any one player,” said May. “This was a total team effort — offense, defense, special teams. Now we just have to keep the momentum going.”
Orcutt Academy knows one thing about next week’s game — it’s on the road.
The Spartans’ opponent will be determined Saturday when Chadwick faces the Riverside County Education Academy in Moreno Valley. The winner will host next week’s second round matchup.