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Football

San Marcos Tastes Victory for First Time Since 2015

Luis Mesino is spectacular, scoring three touchdowns in a 35-19 win over Morro Bay to end 17-game losing streak

San Marcos receiver Luis Mesino runs behind blockers Marcus Jimenez (75) and Andrew Aragon after catching a pass. Click to view larger
San Marcos receiver Luis Mesino runs behind blockers Marcus Jimenez (75) and Andrew Aragon after catching a pass. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

The San Marcos football finally savored the sweet taste of victory on Friday night.

Mr. Excitement Luis Mesino caught two touchdown passes, returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score and intercepted a pass to lead the charge for the Royals in a 35-19 non-league win over Morro Bay at Warkentin Stadium.

The victory ended a 17-game losing streak and showed that the Royals are for real. 

San Marcos students rushed the field after the game to celebrate the win. It was also the first victory for head coach Jason Fowle, who is in his second year. Fowle tried to talk to his team after the game, but seeing the elated students on the field, he let his players join in the fun.

The speech could wait till Monday. It was a special moment for the players.

Tommy Schaeffer gave the Royals a solid ground game with 109 yards rushing. Click to view larger
Tommy Schaeffer gave the Royals a solid ground game with 109 yards rushing. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

"The players deserve all the credit," said Fowle. "They worked their butts off all year long, all off season, all week. After a tough loss (against Santa Ynez in the opener), they stayed positive. They did everything we asked them to do; we were hard on them, we were aggressive with them, but positive with them and they responded in every way."

On winning his first game as a varsity coach, Fowle said: "Honestly, it feels not a lot different when we played hard and played well in the past and lost. This time we came out and we won. And it’s nice to get a win for this program and get the monkey for our back."

Mesino electrified the crowd on the first play from scrimmage, hauling in 45-yard pass from quarterback Jacob Villarreal with one hand. Four runs by Tommy Schaeffer put the ball at the 7 and Villarreal finished the opening drive with a 7-yard TD strike to Mesino on a broken play. Villarreal fumbled the snap, picked the ball up and rolled right before finding Messino in the end zone. Steven Corona kicked the first of his five PATs.

The Royals struck again in the first quarter after Mesino picked off Morro Bay quarterback Nico Calanchini at the San Marcos 35 and returned the ball to the 44. Calanchini was filling in for starter Adrian Moriarty, who was banged up in the Pirates’ season-opening loss to Righetti.

San Marcos was penalized 15 yards after the interception and started its series on the 29. The ball was in the end zone on the first play, as Villarreal threw a bomb to a sprinting Mesino, who made a superb fingertip catch and outran the cornerback for a 71-yard score and a 14-0 lead with 2:44 left in the quarter.

"We knew that was gong to be our first play," said Villarreal.

"The kid’s an enigma. That’s what I say about him," Fowle said of Mesino. "He's quite an athlete."

Mesino finished the game with four catches for 124 yards and two scores. Villarreal was an efficient 11 of 16 for 197 yards and four touchdowns. He got good protection from his offensive line as he was sacked just once on a scramble.

"I'm really excited to keep going forward with them," said Villarreal of his line.

Quarterback Jacob Villarreal gets good protection from Tommy Schaeffer and Nico Peluso (76). Click to view larger
Quarterback Jacob Villarreal gets good protection from Tommy Schaeffer and Nico Peluso (76).  (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Mesino and Villarreal said it felt good to finally end a game on the winning side.

"It’s great. As you can tell, everyone is excited and we can’t wait to get the next one," said Villarreal.

Said Mesino "It’s just exciting. It’s been almost two years since we won a game here at San Marcos and for these boys it’s really exciting for them and us as a program."

Without its top passer, Morro Bay relied on big running back Myles Minnis. The 6-foot, 220-pounder ran 41 yards on a delayed handoff to put the Pirates on the board at 11:50 of the second quarter. They failed on a pass for a two-point conversion, leaving the score 14-6.

Mr. Excitement then made his presence felt again. Mesino fumbled the ensuing kickoff and then took off on a thrilling 85-yard return for a touchdown. He made a terrific juke 10 yards into the return and bolted up the right sideline for his second kickoff return for a score in two games. Corona’s PAT made it 21-6 at the 11:33 mark.

"That’s what throws (the defenders) off," Mesino said of the fumble  "If it’s short ,I just let it roll for a few seconds so we can set up the wall and I just run."

The San Marcos defense came up with another turnover, as Tristan Wallace picked off a pass at the Royals’ 23. 

San Marcos cashed in the turnover with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Villarreal to running back Tommy Schaeffer for a 28-6 advantage. The big play on the drive was Schaeffer’s 26-yard gain on a screen pass on third and 8. Morro Bay was blitzing on the play, but the Royals’ offensive line did a superb job picking it up.

Villarreal threw his fourth TD pass in the third quarter, a 5-yarder to Andrew Aragon for a 35-6 lead.  The score was set up by a recovery of a Morro Bay fumble on the second-half kickoff.

Besides Villarreal’s passing, the Royals got solid running from Schaeffer. He powered his way to 109 yards on 18 carries. 

"It worked out that he got bulk of the carries," Fowle said. "Tommy is definitely a special player and he’s only junior. We expect big things from him in the rest of his tenure at San Marcos."

Minnis had two touchdown runs of 12 yards in the fourth quarter for Morro Bay (0-2). He finished with 123 yards on 12 carries.

Fowle said it was nice to see his players rewarded for their hard work.

"I feel like we have played hard as a program every game," he said. "There's a small difference between winning and losing - and it's in how the outside world treats you. They don't have anything to prove to anybody, except each other."

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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