A Santa Barbara High football team that was considered by many to be rebuilding at the beginning of the season has blossomed into a contender.
The Dons defeated rival Dos Pueblos 45-17 to capture the unofficial city championship on Friday night at Scott O’Leary Stadium and remain one game back of first-place Pacifica in the Channel league with one game to play.
“A lot of people doubted us and we took a lot of that energy and we spoke about it before the season,” said Santa Barbara High coach J.T. Stone. “To see us right now at 7-2, I’m happy, because we fought to get here.”
A key figure in Santa Barbara’s success is sophomore quarterback Abel Renteria, who put together another solid game. He finished 14-of-16 passing for 226 yards and four touchdowns. Rentria also added 43-yards rushing on eight carries with a touchdown.
The ability to move the sticks with his legs and pile up big plays with his arm makes Renteria tough to stop and he has performed like an upperclassman since his first start against Saugus.
“A lot of these kids have been in this program, they’ve grown up around this program and they’ve been with me for a long time,” Stone said. “They’ve played together and developed a passion to want to get better for each other so there was no fall off.”
Miguel Unzueta caught two Renteria touchdown passes of 18 and 19 yards in the first quarter as he was a featured receiver for Santa Barbara. Trent Williams caught an eleven-yard touchdown pass and returned a Dos Pueblos onside kick 45 yards for a touchdown.
Santa Barbara running back Nathan Barrios took a screen pass 88-yards for a touchdown late in the second half.
After falling behind 28-0 in the first half Dos Pueblos recovered back-to-back pooch kickoffs to start the second half, but only came away with three points by virtue of a 26-yard Greg Tripathi field goal.
In the fourth quarter, Dos Pueblos sophomore quarterback Ryan Marsh found his footing and connected with running back Reese Hafner on a 76-yard touchdown pass. On the next Chargers’ possession Marsh stayed hot and found Jordan Rico along the sideline for a 60-yard touchdown.
“From Ryan’s perspective it was huge because he’s played a little bit and maybe wasn’t ready in those situations and tonight he had a whole week of practice,” said Dos Pueblos coach A.J. Patreras. “It was like you are the guy for the rest of the year and you will come back next year and be a guy. We will have time to really build a package around him.”
Bishop Diego 55 Moorpark 0
The Cardinals improved to 2-0 in Camino League play and will travel to Camarillo for a first-place showdown next week.
San Marcos 40 Cabrillo 0
The Royals improved to 4-5 on the season and will travel to Santa Ynez next week looking to earn a playoff berth.
Hueneme 48 Carpinteria 0
The Warriors remain winless on the season.
Santa Ynez 47 Channel Islands 7
The Pirates remain within striking distance of Buena in the Pacific View League.
Lompoc 64 Oxnard 28
The Braves snapped a five-game losing streak as Deville Dickerson racked up five touchdowns.