A large and enthusiastic homecoming crowd gathered at Dos Pueblos High School for Friday night’s Channel League game was treated to some unexpected fireworks, though not the sort you might see when the queen or king — or both — are crowned at a halftime extravaganza.
Instead, most of the excitement — at least of the football variety — was provided by the visiting Oxnard Yellow Jackets as they dazzled Dos Pueblos with a seemingly endless string of big plays to win 48-7.
Oxnard improved to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in league while Dos Pueblos dropped to 3-4, 1-4.
Senior wide receiver Eli Aragon, looking every bit the legitimate Division I prospect he is said by many to be, caught seven passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns, and his running mate Elijah Davis added eight catches for 88 yards to help sophomore quarterback Andrew Maria compile a passing total of 19-for-21 for 266 yards and four scores, while Diego Velasco led a 272-yard rushing attack with 142 yards on 11 carries.
“We know what we have,” Oxnard coach Jaime Moreno said. “We have some of the best receivers around. We just need to get them the ball in space. Today we were able to execute our game plan and it was unstoppable. Our problem is to do it consistently.”
Aragon would have had an even bigger night but for a play by Daniel Johnston that was one of the few good moments for the Chargers’ defense. With time running out on a 20-7 first half lead for the Yellow Jackets, Aragon raced down the sideline and jumped up in the end zone for a 50-50 ball thrown by Maria. But Johnston got inside position on him and pulled the ball down for an interception. Even that play proved painful for Dos Pueblos, however, as Johnston suffered what Coach AJ Patera termed a probable collarbone injury.
The game only got worse for the Chargers after that. Oxnard opened the second half with three straight touchdown drives — despite having long scores nullified by penalties during each of the drives.
All in all, it was not a pretty sight, but one that Pateras said he has, unfortunately, seen unfold too often this season because of his team’s inconsistency in both games and practices.
“We definitely did not help ourselves tonight,” Pateras said. “Give Oxnard credit for the way they played, but today was a great visual of guys not being in the right place at certain times and, really, it’s been the story for us all season. We’ve just been very inconsistent and it starts at practice and shows up in games.”
Dos Pueblos came out stumbling and fumbling almost literally from the start of the game. Its kick returner stumbled and downed himself at the 10 to start the game and, two plays later, the Chargers lost possession on a fumble. Velasco scored on a 24-yard burst up the middle, running through several missed tackles on the way.
The Chargers went three-and-out on their next possession and Aragon made his presence known immediately afterward, returning a punt 20 yards before scoring the first of his touchdowns on a 20-yard sprint down the sideline.
Quarterback Ryan Marsh seemed to rejuvenate the Chargers with a 78-yard drive on 4-for-6 passing, finishing with a 33-yard TD pass to Cairo Rios. The PAT kick made it 13-7, and Dos Pueblos was further buoyed when Naythan Bojorquez recovered a fumble to stop an Oxnard drive at the DP 10.
A 24-yard run by Rios, the longest run for the Chargers on a night they compiled only 119 yards on 23 carries, and a 20-yard completion by Marsh to Brett Jones took Dos Pueblos into Oxnard territory. But that, as it turned out, was pretty much the end of its offensive output for the night. After an exchange of punts,
Maria connected with a streaking Aragon down the right sideline for a 40-yard TD to make it 20-7 at halftime and three Oxnard scores to start the second half — a 14-yard run by Isaiah Dillon, 39-yard pass to Aragon, and a 3-yard run by Davis — put the game away. A 10-yard pass from Maria to Dillon concluded the scoring.