Arturo Luna
San Marcos receiver Arturo Luna beats two Ventura defenders to haul in a touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Engel. (Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo)

Turnovers hurt San Marcos early, putting the Royals in a hole they couldn’t dig out of in a 41-14 loss to Ventura Friday night in a Pacific View League football opener at Warkentin Stadium.

After ceding a 27-0 halftime deficit, the Royals played the Cougars even through the second half, which began and ended with two brilliant San Marcos scores.

About 85 seconds into the third quarter, Royals senior safety Luis Mayo picked off a pass from Cougars sophomore quarterback Joey Reynoso and found a clear path of 35 yards for the score. That served to liven up the home crowd and foster hopes of an epic comeback.

But Ventura managed two more scores in the half. Then with 1:32 left in the game, Royals QB Josh Engel found junior wide receiver Arturo Luna for a long touchdown to bring the final score a bit closer.

San Marcos falls to 2-4 overall, and Ventura stands at 3-2. Ventura dominated the first half, moving the ball well by air and land and taking advantage of Royals’ turnovers.

After taking the opening kickoff, San Marcos gave the ball up 90 seconds later when Cougar defensive back Mylan Walker picked off a throw from Engel. The Cougars then began a drive from the San Marcos 40, culminating a few plays later with a score from Cougars senior running back Noah Mcgee on a four-yard sweep with 8:01 left in the first quarter.

Another Ventura interception four minutes later, by defensive back Mac Hannah, gave the Cougars the ball on their own 40. A vigorous drive resulted in a passing score to Ventura wide receiver Tyler Woodworth to make the score 14-0 with 18 seconds left in the first quarter.

The second of the Cougars’ two second-quarter scores came after a fumble recovery on Ventura’s own 29 yard line with 3:43 to go in the half. This drive ended with the Cougar junior quarterback Jacob Jeffris scoring on a 5-yard keeper play.

The loss was San Marcos’ fourth straight after opening the season with two wins. The Royals face Channel Islands next Friday in Oxnard.

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Dennis Moran, Noozhawk Correspondent

Noozhawk correspondent Dennis Moran can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.