This time, there was no collapse in the fourth quarter.
On this night, Lompoc ensured that it wasn’t going to endure a repeat of last week’s final 12 minutes of the game – and rolled past Bishop Diego 17-7 on Friday night at Huyck Stadium.
One week ago, Righetti scored 28 unanswered points in front of the Braves’ home crowd in the devastating loss – which wiped away a 21-0 LHS lead through three quarters.
But the message was loud and clear by Braves head coach Andrew Jones during the week of preparation against the previously unbeaten Cardinals.
“One quarter doesn’t define us,” Jones said. “They (Righetti) made some great plays at the right time and our guys fell apart. But for our guys to battle back and be resilient the way they were (tonight), it shows the character of this team.”
In his 10 seasons at his post, Jones and the Braves have never lost consecutively during the regular season. The last time LHS lost in consecutive games was Robin Luken’s last season as head coach in 2009, which was a nine-game slide before beating Cabrillo in the season finale.
And the Braves (2-1 overall) had to overcome an early miscue and Cardinal lead to prevent consecutive losses.
Buried deep inside the red zone, Lompoc muffed a punt and the Cards’ Luke Knightley pounced on the loose ball, putting Bishop Diego ahead 7-3.
But that would be the final time the visiting Cardinals led. And it led freshman quarterback Cavin Ross to show his calm and cerebral side.
Righetti will bring its high-flying offense to its house next week and the Warriors are ready for some home cooking.
Ross, who took over for the injured Cameron Iribarren late in the Simi Valley contest, engineered a long drive by connecting with Christian Tenorio and Ryan Morgan.
The ninth grader, though, made three of his biggest throws using his brain and trusting his receivers during tight coverage.
Following a timeout during the third quarter, Ross audibled out of the original play and hit Deville “Joker” Dickerson on a seam route on a third-and-long scenario. Ross then hit the pump fake and found Cailin Daniels one-on-one with his defender in the end zone, resulting in Lompoc retaking the lead.
The final clutch throw, and dagger, arrived in the fourth quarter when he connected with one of his older teammates and senior leaders.
With protection from the Braves’ front five, Ross lobbed the ball to Wyoming commit Ryan Morgan – who caught the ball over the helmet of Cardinals linebacker Ben Boedekker for the 37-yard touchdown throw, placing LHS ahead for good 17-7.
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Ross says he’s starting to find his groove in leading the Braves’ offense
“Each game, I just get more and more comfortable,” Ross said.
“He’s got some moxie and some poise,” Jones added. “The six inches in between his ears is something I’ve never seen before for a freshman. He’s almost like having another coach on the field.”
The game saw the yellow marker come out frequently, as both teams combined for 25 penalties with Bishop Diego getting called for 16 of them.
Defensively, Jed Rantz snatched one early interception during the first quarter of play. Leondre Coleman – who once again handled the lead rushing duties on offense – tallied some crucial sacks and fourth down stops that forced the turnover on downs.
Oscar Tenorio added to the defensive energy for LHS by collecting one sack on a cornerback blitz during the second half and threw his shoulder pads into the ball carrier for another key stop for a loss.
Again, the theme of the week during practice and against the Cardinals: Erase the memory of the fourth quarter debacle against Righetti.
“Our coaches told us all week: Don’t let one quarter define our team. And we didn’t,” Ross said.
Lompoc travels to Pioneer Valley next Friday to face Arroyo Grande.
Cabrillo falls to 0-3
The Conquistadores fell to Rio Mesa 48-6 in Oxnard Friday night, falling to 0-3 on the season.
Rio Mesa is now 3-0.
The Spartans went up 14-0 in the first quarter and expanded their lead to 27-6 at the break. They then outscored Cabrillo 21-0 in the second half.
Cabrillo should be more competitive in its next game. The Conquistadores host Pioneer Valley in a non-league game. Pioneer Valley is 0-2 after losing to Righetti 42-6 on Friday.