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No. 2 Seed Dos Pueblos Punishes Brentwood, 41-3, in CIF Division 10 Opener

Dos Pueblos running back Erick Lopez keeps his legs churning as he tries to break free from a Brentwood tackler. Lopez rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns. Click to view larger
Dos Pueblos running back Erick Lopez keeps his legs churning as he tries to break free from a Brentwood tackler. Lopez rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Underdog Brentwood got some licks in early against the big dog Dos Pueblos in their first-round game of the CIF-Southern Section football playoffs Friday night.

The visiting Eagles took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter against the No. 2-seeded team in Division 10. But that only turned up the fire inside the Chargers, and they took control of the game, erupting for six unanswered scores en route to a 41-3 mauling at Scott O’Leary Stadium.

“That was a big motivating factor, especially as a senior class. We didn’t want our season to be over,” left tackle Erick Nisich said of the early deficit. “We knew we had to pick it up or we’d be unloading our lockers and going home. It was a big motivating factor to start executing and doing well. We did that and we were able to pull out the win.”

Dos Pueblos advances to a quarterfinal game at Gahr in Cerritos next Friday. Gahr advanced with a 31-28 win at Santa Fe.

Nisich and his offensive linemates dominated in the trenches against Brentwood and running back Erick Lopez took full advantage, pounding the Eagles for 157 yards on 16 carries and scoring three touchdowns.

“We felt confident,” Lopez said after Brentwood’s Gavin Green made a 34-yard field goal with 17 seconds left in the first quarter to get on the scoreboard first. “We felt like we had to fire back and make an impression, and I felt like we did that. We made a statement today.”

The Chargers got things going after Alijah Grant recovered a fumble by Brentwood quarterback Sol Broady following an Eagles interception.

Cyrus Wallace hauls in a pass from quarterback Jake Ramirez and scores first touchdown for Dos Pueblos in the second quarter. Click to view larger
Cyrus Wallace hauls in a pass from quarterback Jake Ramirez and scores first touchdown for Dos Pueblos in the second quarter. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

On the play after the fumble, quarterback Jake Ramirez hit Cyrus Wallace on a post pattern for a 30-yard touchdown. Jesse Mollkoy’s first of five PATs gave DP the lead for good, 7-3.

“Jake saw me over the middle,” said Wallace, who also caught a 49-yard TD from Ramirez in the third quarter and made five catches in the game for 105 yards. “We just have to trust what we can do together.”

DP (10-1) overcame seven holding penalties to posts its school-record 10th straight victory. 

“It was frustrating,” DP coach Nate Mendoza said of the holding calls. “There’s nothing we can do, it was out of our control. Our line was blocking outstanding like they do every night. We definitely felt like we imposed our will on them.”

Said Nisich: “We’re a very physical offensive line and when we get referees that aren’t used to our style they can misconstrue stuff we’re doing for holding.”

The offensive line showed its dominance on DP’s second touchdown as Lopez and Rob Alfaro picked up huge chunks of yards on the ground during a long drive that started with a holding penalty. Lopez ran 16 and 10 yards before scoring from the 1 for a 14-3 advantage.

“Our line was just too physical for them,” Lopez said. “There was nothing they can do to stop. us.”

Nisich added: “We play with a real punishing style. We take pride in our conditioning. We like to punish teams, impose our will and pound the rock as much as possible, and by that time you can see most teams are waving the white flag.”

Nisich gave Lopez props for his performance. 

“He’s a very humble guy. I don’t think he gives himself enough credit. He’s a very, very good running back,” said Nisich. “We do our jobs to help him out, but I got to give a lot of credit to him, too. He’s a great, great football player.”

Defensive lineman Bryce Morelli picked off a pass late in the first half, but DP couldn't capitalize. The drive stalled at the 32 and Zack Guttentag's 45-yard field-goal attempt fell short, leaving the score 14-3 at halftime.

Brentwood (8-2-1) came out recharged after the break and drove to the DP 9. Running back Lucian Broady busted through the line and appeared head for a touchdown but a big hit by Michael Elbert and Dillon Roberts knocked the ball out of his hands and it rolled out of the end zone for a touchback.

“That felt like the play of the game again,” Mendoza said. “That’s the third time that’s happened this year — the Ventura game, the Buena game and this one tonight. “They were going to shorten the lead up and fortunately we made a really good play and forced a turnover.”

The Chargers capitalized, marching 80 yards on seven plays, with a holding penalty thrown in. Lopez scored after the penalty on a 27-yard run off left tackle for a 21-3 lead with 5:37 left in the third quarter.

DP stopped Brentwood on a fourth and 5 from the 43 and scored when it got the ball back. Ramirez fired a pass over the head of an Eagles' defensive back to Wallace and the senior receiver made a nifty move and ran untouched into the end zone to complete a 49-yard play.

“For whatever reason, they kept pressing him on that side,” said Mendoza of Brentwood’s defense on Wallace. “We feel like if an opponent is going to press Cyrus we’ll take that one-on-one (match-up) all day.”

Wallace said the team talked at halftime about throwing him the ball. 

“I’m going to get it or no one is,” he said. “I just do what I do after I catch the ball.”

His cuts and moves showed that he's feeling no ill effects from a knee injury he suffered during the summer. 

“I feel great. It feels like nothing is really wrong, but I know something is. So, at the same time I have to be cautious, but I can’t let that hold me back, said Wallace.

“For a kid we thought we wouldn’t have for the year, and the things that he’s doing right now, is absolutely amazing,” said Mendoza. “He’s a huge spark plug for us and had a great game. 

"Ramirez made some good throws and hats off again to the O line.”

Lopez scored this third touchdown of the game on an 11-yard run to make it 34-3 and Conner Lee returned an interception 55 yards for the final touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Now it’s on to the quarterfinals, where DP had its season ended last year.

“We’re excited, we’re excited for whatever opponent we have to face,” Mendoza said. "We’re going to keep playing Charger football.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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