There’s an old adage that the biggest improvement for a football team comes between the first and second game and that was certainly the case for the Santa Ynez football team.
The Pirates exploded offensively and defeated visiting Santa Barbara, 46-28, on Friday night.
“We made a lot of mental mistakes against Lompoc and I think that first game really helped us because we were able to go back and look at film,” said Santa Ynez coach Josh McClurg. “Coaches did a great job, but more importantly the players did their job, they played assignment football and took care of the little things first.”
Logan Ast was the focal point of the Santa Ynez offense and shredded the Santa Barbara defense both as a runner and receiver en-route to four touchdowns. Ast experienced a huge growth spurt in the offseason and at 6’2” 205 pounds was very difficult for the Santa Barbara defense to get to the ground.
He finished with 147 yards on 26 carries and caught six passes from Santa Ynez quarterback Ben Redell for 110 yards.
“This is a typical Santa Ynez team that we played so it wasn’t anything that we didn’t expect. They’re going to come out and they’re going to play hard small town football,” said Santa Barbara High coach J.T. Stone. “It’s just simple, Santa Barbara High football didn’t show up tonight.”
It was the first game of the season for the Dons after their scheduled opener against San Marcos was cancelled due to Covid-19 protocol last week. The inexperience and rust showed as Santa Barbara struggled to line up correctly and execute on both sides of the ball.
Wisconsin-bound quarterback Deacon Hill made his long awaited return to the field for Santa Barbara and connected with his UC Davis-bound receiver Jake Knecht on a 65-yard bomb to give Santa Barbara a 7-6 lead with 1:02 remaining in the first quarter.
However, Knecht aggravated a hamstring injury on the play and did not return to the game. Without his only receiver with significant varsity experience out and with a very inexperienced offensive line in front of him, Hill was forced to make throws into tight windows under pressure throughout the game.
Hill finished 15-of-36 passing for 281 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a two-yard rushing touchdown.
Santa Ynez seized control of the game and took a 13-7 lead on a five-yard touchdown pass from Redell to Cameron Prendergast with 7:17 remaining in the second quarter. The play was the first of many third-down conversions that swung the games in the Pirates’ favor.
Santa Ynez scored again with 1:02 remaining in the second quarter when Redell launched a pass into the end zone on 3rd-and-9 from the 16-yard line that was tipped in the air and ended up in the hands of Tyler Gregg to give the Pirates a 19-7 lead.
Santa Barbara responded with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Hill to Miguel Unzueta that cut the Dons’ deficit to 19-14 with 18 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Redell delivered a strike right at the pylon to prendergast early in the third quarter extending the Santa Ynez lead to 25-14. Santa Barbara came back with a 44-yard reception from Hill to Anthony Loza on 4th-and-5 down to the five-yard line. Two plays later Hill plunged into the end zone cutting the deficit to 25-21 with 2:26 remaining in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was dominated by Ast who rushed for three touchdowns in the period to lead the Pirates to victory.
Bishop Diego 42 Camarillo 7
The Cardinals’ rushing attack found its stride as Marcus Chan racked up four touchdowns on the ground paving the way for a stunning rout.
San Marcos 9 Cabrillo 7
Adrian Alaniz connected on a field goal in the fourth quarter giving the Royals a 9-7 lead that they would not relinquish.
Lompoc 62 Dos Pueblos 6
Sheldon Canley rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns. Deville “Joker” Dickerson added 55-yard punt return and 12-yard receiving touchdowns.
Nordhoff 50 Carpinteria 14
The Warriors fell behind early and never recovered in their first game of the season after Covid-19 protocol kept them off the field in week 1.