Dillon Roberts, DP football
Buena receiver Terry Johnson loses the ball as Dillon Roberts of Dos Pueblos (11) and Baylor Huyck move in to make the tackle. Roberts recovered the fumble. (Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo)

The defense has made big strides for the Dos Pueblos football team.

The Chargers forced three turnovers, held Buena to a 152 yards in offense and one touchdown in rolling up a 41-7 victory on Saturday night at San Marcos’ Warkentin Stadium.

It’s the second straight win for DP, which is 3-1 going into its bye week. Buena is 0-4.

Dos Pueblos allowed an average of 32 points in its first three games, and that included a 49-0 loss against Pacifica.

Saturday’s performance showed that Doug Caines and his staff have the Chargers moving in the right direction.

“We are working on learning how to win,” Caines said. “We knew that Buena is a talented team and they’ve played some really tough teams, and we wanted to prove that we’re a really tough team.”

Esteban Delgado and Dillon Roberts recovered fumbles and Brandon Miguel intercepted a pass to start scoring drives. Roberts also was alert on a Buena fake punt and tackled the punter Robert Aguilar short of a first down.

That defensive gems also resulted in a score.

“We went to work and tried to sharpen the sword,” Caines said of the defense’s play. “When it comes out of the sheath on (Saturday), I’m a little gun shy after Pacifica. I kind of don’t know what the sword is going to look like but luckily it was pretty sharp tonight. Really proud of the kids of putting in the work to execute.”

Diego Cruz

Diego Cruz of Dos Pueblos makes an open-field tackle on Buena running back Bruce Mathis. (Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo)

Dos Pueblos converted Delgado’s recovery at the Buena 27 into a touchdown. Quarterback David Leon scored on a 4-yard run for the first score of the game at 8:48 of the first quarter. Kicker Jesse Mollkoy converted on the first of his five PAT kicks.

Mollkoy capped DP’s second possession of the game with a 47-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.

The third scored came after Roberts tackled Aguilar three yards short on a fake punt attempt at the Buena 37. Running back Eric Lopez ran off right tackle, broke outside and scampered 19 yards to the end zone  for a 17-0 lead at 10:29 of the second quarter.

The next time Buena got the ball Miguel picked off a pass by sophomore quarterback Owen Medina and returned it 20 yards to the Bulldogs’ 20. Six running plays later, Conner Lee went over from 1 yard to make it 24-0 at 7:32 of the second quarter.

Eric Lopez follows his blockers on a 25-yard touchdown dash for Dos Pueblos. pic.twitter.com/OAaarjOW3u

— NoozhawkSports (@NoozhawkSports) September 9, 2018

“The team set turnover goals as part of its season goals and we weren’t even close (to them),” Caines said. “This was a great first game to kind of actualize some of that. We really worked hard on that and it was great to see it show up on the field.”

Buena finally put together a sustained drive behind the running of junior Bruce Mathis. He was the workhorse on a 64-yard drive, carrying seven times for 38 yards. Aguilar finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, making it a 24-7 game.

Dos Pueblos had one more shot at scoring before halftime, but without any timeouts left it rushed a field goal try and Mollkoy was wide left from 50 yards.

The Chargers were stopped on downs on their first possession of the second half, but Mollkoy put Buena in terrible field position with a 44-yard punt to the Bulldogs’ 4.

Buena went three out and punted from the end zone to its 25.

On second down, Lopez ran 25 yards for his second touchdown of the night and a 31-7 lead.

Lopez and Udy Loza led the Dos Pueblos running back committee. The junior Loza rushed for 100 yards on 13 carries and Lopez, a senior, gained 80 on 12 rushes.

“We’re starting to click,” said Caines of the offense, “It’s not pretty but it’s explosive and not three yards and a cloud of dust. We can be just explosive as a spread team.”

Loza started DP’s next touchdown drive with a 32-yard run and Leon finished it with a 1-yard run for a 38-7 advantage.

More runs by Loza and a 20-yard scamper by Diego Cruz set up Mollkoy for his second field goal of the night, a 29 yarder. That gives him six field goals in his last two games.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.