Somebody had to finally get in the win column on Friday night at Huyck Stadium.
And it was the Buena Bulldogs who are no longer winless, beating Cabrillo 24-7 on Friday by pouncing on multiple turnovers.
Cabrillo running back Tito Miza finished the game by fumbling twice – once on a botched pitch and the other after breaking his longest run of the evening. Quarterback Jackson Anderson was picked off once by Robert Aguilar and fumbled the ball during a fourth-and-four scenario. Lastly, CHS muffed a punt deep in its own territory that was recovered by Buena (1-4) and eventually led to the final points of the night: A 25-yard field goal attempt.
Cabrillo head coach AJ Pateras saw some welcoming signs on defense and special teams. But additionally saw the Conqs’ miscues.
“Tonight, we did a lot of good things. We held this game in check for the most part but then we had the two fumbles on offense and the interception. It comes down making the appropriate play when it’s time,” Pateras said.
Before the game, Pateras said the CHS players had a gut-check period – where they aimed to figure out which direction to go for the rest of the year.
“We had a good internal struggle this week. Guys had some gut checks and we had a player’s only meeting about calling guys out and about the commitment level,” Pateras said. “But it seems like the kids responded with a little more excitement and passion on the field.”
The game started off as a defensive slugfest. Both teams were held scoreless in the first quarter. But, toward the end of the first, the Bulldogs put together a long drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by Bruce Powell-Mathis, which arrived early in the second quarter.
Cabrillo (0-5) didn’t take long to respond.
Tyler Williams took the bounced kickoff and raced down the right hash marks – accelerating his way to the end zone off of the 73-yard kickoff return to tie things up.
“We had some great stuff on special teams,” Pateras said. “The young guy Tyler got a great kickoff return. He’s going to be an explosive kid when he becomes a real football player when he starts to learn how to do it.”
In the next Buena drive, the Bulldogs drove all the way inside to the CHS 5 before Powell-Mathis added his second score of the night.
Buena nearly made it a two touchdown advantage on its next offensive possession. But, a botched shotgun snap resulted in Trey Robison pouncing on the loose ball – rewarding the Conqs with the fumble recovery.
The CHS drive would eventually stall and the Conqs ended the half with 48 total yards of offense but trailed by just one touchdown.
Cabrillo stayed in the game through defense; particularly the play of Spencer Cothran, Patrick Durham and Danan Pacheco who led the CHS blitzes.
“Defensively, when we’re committed on defense and do our job, we’re pretty dang tough,” Pateras said. “Him (Durham) and Spencer are two torpedoes. They find the ball and they finish. They are the heart of the defense. We go as they go.”
Cabrillo, though, struggled once again on offense – even going with a huddle this time and running more flex and pistol formations. In the fourth, CHS turned to Mykul Gillory to lead the offensive spark.
“We’re just trying to find some stability and continuity on offense,” Pateras said. “We haven’t been effective on offense. Things are there, we’re just not effectively making the play. It’s just going back to the basics – cleaning up the mistakes and trying to understand that if we give ourselves an opportunity by doing things the right way, the score is different.”
Overall, Pateras and CHS will now aim to clean up more things during its bye week before heading into Channel League play.
“It’s part of the growth,” Pateras said. “They’re young kids. Everything that goes with learning is good for their future whether if it’s here or in life.”