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San Marcos Loses Focus, Falls to Channel Islands, 28-10

Banged up Royals finish first half strong but run out of steam in second half on Homecoming night

Tommy Schaeffer scores a touchdown for San Marcos on a 24-yard run in the second quarter. Click to view larger
Tommy Schaeffer scores a touchdown for San Marcos on a 24-yard run in the second quarter.  (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

San Marcos caught fire in the last eight minutes of the first half and scored 10 points, but the Royals were unable carry the momentum they generated into the second half and suffered a 28-10 football loss to Channel Islands on Homecoming night at Warkentin Stadium.

Down 14-10 at halftime, San Marcos gave up two touchdowns in a two-minute span of the third quarter and never recovered.

Channel Islands running back Tylor Blake broke off a 38-yard scoring run at 9:49 of the quarter and two minutes later defensive back Jake Garganta picked off a pass in the left flat and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown, boosting the Raiders’ lead to 28-10.

"We just got to play better," a frustrated San Marcos coach Jason Fowle said. "It doesn’t matter who’s in there. There’s plenty of opportunities in practice to be better at the fundamentals, and we have to be better at the fundamentals."

San Marcos has lost two quarterbacks in the first four weeks of the season.

The Royals, despite the efforts of running back Tommy Schaefer and quarterback Anthony Simentales, struggled to put together a sustained drive for the remainder of the second half and dropped their third straight game to fall to 1-4.

"We had some moments there where we had some good things happen offensively with Tommy, Luis (Mesino) and everybody coming together as unit and making some plays," Fowle said. "But we have to sustain that and we have to focus. It was a total lapse of focus in crucial situations."

When the Royals broke their post-game huddle with the coaches, they shouted the word, "focus."

San Marcos’ defense came up big on Channel Islands’ first drive of the game. The Raiders drove to the 13, but Dane Sterndahl tackled running back Josue Cabrera for a 6-yard loss on first down. They got three yards back on a pass before attempting a 33-yard field goal. The kick sailed wide right.

The little victory by the Royals’ defense was ruined when the offense fumbled the snap on its first play. 

Three plays after the turnover, CI quarterback Fredrick Romero scored on a 2-yard run.  Ronaldo Ramirez kicked the PAT for a 7-0 lead.

San Marcos defenders bring down Channel Islands quarterback Fredrick Romero. Click to view larger
San Marcos defenders bring down Channel Islands quarterback Fredrick Romero. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

The Raiders, behind the running of Blake, made it 14-0 in the second quarter. Blake rushed for 49 yards on a 62-yard drive and finished it with 1-yard TD run.

Blake, the back-up to Cabrera, had a breakout game with 167 yards on 17 carries. 

Channel Islands (3-2) also was aided by the return of Romero at quarterback. He missed the last two games with an injury and the Raiders lost them both. 

San Marcos actually did a good job containing the slick and fleet-footed Romero. But it had trouble wrapping up  Blake.

"They hit us with a couple of runs, but I thought we were bend but don’t break," Fowle said of his defense. "Unfortunately, they broke contain on a couple of plays. You can’t complain about our defensive effort."

After spotting the Raiders a 14-0 lead, the Royals got going and gave the large homecoming crowd something to cheer about. Simentales completed passes of 9 and 10 yards to Paul Ingram and Schaeffer, and Schaeffer threw a pass for 13 yards to Mark Herrera. A personal foul against CI put the ball at the 14. Schaeffer gained one yard before Steven Corona converted a 32-yard field goal to make it a 14-3 game.

Schaeffer rushed for 103 yards on 22 carries.

The Royals’ defense stepped up and recovered a fumble on a bad punt snap. Amari Zuniga came up with the ball at the Raiders’ 25. Four plays later, Schaeffer took the snap, made a fake and bolted 14 yards for a touchdown. Corona’s PAT cut the deficit to 14-10 with 25 seconds left in the first half.

After Jennifer Nnoli was crowned Homecoming Queen at halftime, the Royals went three and out on their first series. 

Channel Islands got new life and scored on its first possession of the second half. Romero completed a 29-yard pass to Garganta and 15 penalty yards were tacked on to the gain, moving the ball to the San Marcos 38. On first down, Blake busted lose for a 38-yard touchdown, increasing the Raiders’ lead to 21-10 at the 9:49 mark.

Two minutes later, Garganta picked off a Royals’ pass in the left flat and raced 40 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-10.

Schaeffer broke off a 61-yard run late in the fourth quarter and the Royals got the ball down to the CI 21. But they fell a yard short on fourth and 4.

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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