An opportunistic defense and a quick-striking offense allowed Lompoc High’s football team to roll to a 56-0 victory over Dos Pueblos in Channel League action on Friday night at Huyck Stadium.
The Braves’ defense tallied a season-high six interceptions, and the offense capitalized on strong field position with superb execution, including five scoring drives that consisted of two plays or fewer to make quick work of the Chargers.
Now Lompoc (5-2, 2-0) moves on to face Santa Barbara (5-2, 2-0) next week in a Channel League showdown for first place at Huyck Stadium.
“It’s the best time of the year to be playing good football,” said Braves Coach Andrew Jones. “I think we’re really clicking right now. This was a much better start for us, because we’ve been having trouble with first-quarter penalties in other games. Obviously, getting the interceptions tonight and having the short fields to work with were huge.”
Sophomore running back Sheldon Canley set the tone for the night on the Braves’ second play of the game. He took a handoff up the middle, seemingly untouched, for a 62-yard touchdown run, giving Lompoc a 7-0 lead just 55 seconds into the game.
“I just saw a huge gap,” said Canley, who would finish with a game-high 175 yards on 10 carries. “There was no way I was going to miss that. Our O-line did a great job all night.”
Dos Pueblos’ first series ended with their starting quarterback, Josiah Severson, getting injured on a tackle near the Chargers’ sideline. That left backups Albert Alvarado and Trent Jones to share the signal-calling duties for the remainder of the game.
The Braves proceeded to score on five of their next seven drives, thanks to three touchdown passes by freshman quarterback Cavin Ross, another scoring run by Canley and a touchdown run by senior Leondre Coleman that helped Lompoc post a 42-0 lead at halftime.
“We ran into a really good football team,” said DP Coach Doug Caines. “I felt like we were battling at the start and able to move the ball, but we started having some breakdowns. Jones is one helluva coach, and he proves that every year. We weren’t able to adjust as fast as we needed to, and, at the end of the day, I think they kind of wore us down. That’s a physical group that’s well-coached, and we needed to do a lot more things right to be a little more competitive.”
Lompoc’s secondary had a big night, with senior Joe Schumer grabbing three interceptions and senior Luke Gardner securing two. Linebacker Jed Rantz also got into the act with a pick of his own.
“Getting those turnovers and the short fields helped us with our rhythm on offense,” Jones said. “It seemed like we kept getting back out there and kept getting in a groove.”
Ross finished with 117 yards on 6-of-11 passing and four scoring strikes, including a 4-yard shovel pass to fullback Adam Lazaro. He connected with wideout Christian Duarte-Tenorio on touchdown passes of 9 and 19 yards, and he hit a wide open Cailin Daniels for a 45-yard touchdown to cap the Braves’ first-half scoring.
“Cavin is a smart, savvy kid who understands defenses, so he knows when to pull and when to give,” Jones said of his young quarterback’s ability to run the offense. “He seems to be improving each week.”
The only lowlight for the Braves occurred early in the third quarter. With 42-0 lead, Coleman went to the ground to make an open-field tackle and injured his right shoulder and left the game.
“Coleman is a tough kid; I think he’ll be fine,” Jones said. “He banged up his shoulder this summer. Comparing it to that one, he said this one wasn’t even close to the same. This is a sprain. He knows what’s at stake next week. I think he’ll be suited up and ready to go.”
Santa Barbara defeated Santa Ynez 34-0 on Friday night to keep its Channel League record perfect and set up next week’s clash in Lompoc.
“I told the team to enjoy this, but every game from here on out is a championship type of game,” Jones said. “(The Dons) have a great quarterback, and they’re well-coached. We need to be prepared.”