Eric Lopez punched in an eight-yard touchdown run with just under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter lifting Dos Pueblos to a 33-28 come from behind victory over Channel League rival San Marcos on Friday night at Warkentin Stadium.
Dos Pueblos overcame the absence of several starters due to injury and spoiled a thrilling upset bid by San Marcos. The Chargers outscored the Royals 20-0 in the second half and put together a clutch drive late in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
“We were down. I challenged these kids to step up,” said Dos Pueblos coach Doug Caines. “Our (motto) for this year is in order for us to go far we need everyone and this game more than any other game proved that.”
A close game didn’t seem likely following a dominant march down the field on Dos Pueblos’ opening possession of the game. The Chargers traveled 75 yards on nine plays. Lopez finished off the drive with a 36-yard run down to the eight-yard line and gave Dos Pueblos a 7-0 lead on next play with a plunge into the end zone.
Late in the first quarter momentum swung abruptly towards San Marcos as a punt by the Royals struck a Dos Pueblos blocker to keep a drive alive. Five plays later San Marcos quarterback Ben Partee connected with Josh Brown on a 25-yard touchdown pass, evening the score at 7-7 with 11:54 remaining in the second quarter.
After a quick Dos Pueblos three-and-out, Brown sliced in to block the ensuing punt, which was recovered by Jack Huffman and returned 25-yards for a touchdown as the Royals surged ahead for a 14-7 lead.
Dos Pueblos quickly evened the score on a three-play, 57-yard drive that included a 51-yard pass from David Leon to Nico Martinez. Leon capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run to bring Dos Pueblos within one point after a failed extra point.
San Marcos went on to score the final 14 points of the first half on a 32-yard run by Tommy Scheffer and a one-yard touchdown pass from Partee to Matt Penceck with two seconds remaining in the half to take a 28-13 lead into the locker room.
“We had a great week of preparation. We were ready for this game,” said San Marcos coach Jason Fowle. “It went exactly how we thought it could go. We Just didn’t close it out.”
Dos Pueblos quarterback David Leon took matters into his own hands both running and throwing in the second half. He was named MVP of the annual rivalry game after completing 8-of-17 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown in addition to another 86 yards rushing and a touchdown.
“San Marcos, shout out to them they, punched us in the mouth,” Leon said. “ They got us off our feet and the captains they brought this team right back up and we went to work.”
Dos Pueblos mounted a seven-play 52-yard drive to open the second quarter that culminated in a Jayson Miranda one-yard touchdown run, cutting the Chargers deficit to 28-19 after another failed two-point conversion.
Late in the third quarter Dos Pueblos pulled even closer following a 30-yard touchdown pass from Leon to Dillon Roberts that cut the Chargers’ deficit to 28-27. It appeared San Marcos might be able to run out the clock, but a diving interception by Roberts deep in Dos Pueblos’ territory set up the Chargers game winning drive.
Leon found Roberts with a 23-yard pass on 2nd-and-17 and converted a 4th-and-7 with a 14-yard run to set up Lopez’s go-ahead touchdown. Lopez finished with 146 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. Schaeffer racked up 126 yards on 17 carried for San Marcos.
Santa Ynez 42 Cabrillo 8
The Pirates went up 35-0 at halftime behind strong performances by Cash Transeth and Jasper Kadlec. Santa Ynez improved to 2-1 in Channel League play with the victory.