The Santa Maria Saints battled to their final play but, in the end, the Mission Prep Royals had too much firepower on their way to a 28-7 Ocean League victory Friday on Homecoming night at Santa Maria’s Ralph Baldiviez Stadium.
The Royals (6-0, 2-0 Ocean League) pounded out 298 yards rushing and another 63 through the air to dominate time of possession.
The Saints (2-5, 0-2 Ocean) were held to 176 total yards; 129 rushing and 47 passing.
“Our record doesn’t reflect how good we are right now, '' said Santa Maria’s first-year head coach Albert Mendoza. “Our boys consistently battle throughout. Everyone is trying hard, working hard. We’ve just got to get back to the grind and keep working until things begin to break our way.”
Both teams changed quarterbacks in the second half.
Colby White started for the Royals. After throwing an interception and three incompletions, White found his rhythm, completing his final three passes for 10, 28 and 27 yards, the final a strike to Mario Luera to make the score 21-0 shortly before halftime.
Aiden Dahlen took over for the Royals in the second half, attempting just one pass that fell incomplete.
“We made a conscious decision to give every player the opportunity to compete,” said Mission Prep head coach David Schuster. “We had so many players step up tonight it’s hard to single anyone out, but George Kardashian had two key scores, Isaac Townsend played a big role, David Andrade had a couple big catches. Everyone contributed.”
Kardashian led the Royals’ rushers, getting only two carries but they were good for 45 yards and a 27-yard touchdown run.
Jack Susank and Andrew Abbate each gained 57 yards on the ground.
Joseph Galindo started as the Saints’ quarterback. Galindo gained 36 yards on 12 running plays and completed 1 of 3 passes for five yards.
Josue Elena ran the offense in the second half, losing three yards on four rushing attempts, scoring Santa Maria’s lone touchdown, while throwing for 42 yards on 5 for 14 passing with one interception on the Saints’ final offensive play of the game.
Alejandro Castillo gained 66 yards rushing on nine carries to lead Santa Maria.
Mission Prep began the game with a strong drive that got deep into Santa Maria territory.
On the 10th play of the drive, at the Saints’ 19-yard line, Santa Maria’s Nick Martinez came up with a huge defensive play, intercepting White’s second pass attempt.
The Saints then began their own march downfield, but the drive stalled after 11 plays when Santa Maria couldn’t convert on a fourth-down play at Mission Preps 46.
Mission Prep next went strictly to the run and on the fifth play of the drive, Kardashian took a pitch, got to the edge and ran for a 45-yard touchdown with 1:16 left in the first quarter.
The next time the Royals got the ball, Kardashian did it again, this time breaking through the middle for a 27-yard TD run with 7:45 left in the second quarter to give the Royals a 14-0 lead.
Both teams traded punts until Mission Prep took over at their own 45 with 2:45 left in the half.
Two plays, two big passes and the Royals had a 21-0 lead.
White hit David Andrade for 28 yards, then launched a 27-yard touchdown pass to Luera with 2:06 left until the halftime homecoming ceremony.
Dahlen closed out the Royals scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run with 6:53 left in the third quarter.
Santa Maria recovered a Mission Prep fumble on the final play of the third quarter, getting excellent field position at the Mission Prep 18.
Four plays later, Elena scored on a 5-yard run.
The Homecoming celebration kicked off at halftime when Maggie Perez Vargas was named Homecoming queen and Adrian Barajas was named Homecoming king.
Mission Prep continues Ocean League play next Friday night at Morro Bay.
Santa Maria heads to Atascadero next Friday for their next Ocean League matchup.