#10 Josh Engel tosses a pass to #2 Andre McCullough late in the fourth quarter. | Credit: Victor Bryant

A slow start was too much for the San Marcos High football team to overcome as visiting Buena jumped out early and never looked back, claiming a 32-13 Channel League victory on Friday night at Warkentin Stadium.

Buena’s standout quarterback Zane Carter rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another. Carter is listed at 6’3” and 210 pounds and was a load for San Marcos defenders to tackle.

The Bulldogs are perched atop the Channel League standings alongside Pacifica at 3-0 and are now 3-2 overall for the season. San Marcos dropped to 2-3 overall and 0-3 in Channel league play.

“You can’t spot ten points to these guys and you know it’s frustrating because we really had our best week of practice. I don’t know if they were just too wound up,” said San Marcos coach Ralph Molina. “Once we settled down we made a game out of it for a while there.”

The Royals received the ball to begin the game and immediately went three-and-out. The ensuing punt was blocked by Buena defensive linemen Ahmad Samra, which put the Bulldogs ahead 2-0 with 10:18 remaining in the first quarter.

After receiving the ball after the safety, Buena put together a four play, 62-yard drive that was capped off by a 41-yard touchdown pass from Carter to Collin Guenther, who beat his man on a go-route down the sideline. 

The Bulldogs converted the ensuing two-point conversion to take a 10-0 lead with 8:34 remaining in the first quarter. 

After an eleven-yard touchdown run by Carter increased the Buena lead to 17-0, San Marcos seized momentum with a Luke Sheffey interception, and four plays later Josh Engel connected with Patrick Kelly on a 68-yard touchdown pass that cut the Royals’ deficit to 17-7 with just under two minutes remaining in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs received the ball to open the second half and milked the clock with a 13-play, 81-yard drive to take a 25-7 lead after a successful two-point conversion. 

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San Marcos cut into the Buena lead again with 8:18 remaining in the fourth quarter as a 47-yard run by Kelly on a reverse, set up a three-yard touchdown run by Andre McCullough to bring San Marcos within 25-13.

McCullough finished with 130 yards on 19 carries, despite playing through an ankle injury suffered against Rio Mesa. 

The San Marcos defense held and forced a Buena punt with just over five minutes to play, but the Royals couldn’t move the chains and punted back to Buena with just under four minutes remaining. 

Stevie Plahn scored the final points of the game for Buena by virtue of an eleven-yard touchdown with 2:33 remaining in the game. 

Bishop Diego 26, St. Pius X-St. Matthias 6

A.J. Vele passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. Bryan Trejo intercepted two passes and the Cardinals bounced back from their loss to Central of Fresno with a victory over a Southern Section opponent ranked in the state top 50.

Santa Barbara 29, Ventura 22

The Dons overcame a 14-7 deficit and improved to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in Channel League with the victory.

Pacifica 49, Dos Pueblos 3

#27 Philip Kim runs to daylight. | Credit: Lily Chubb

The Chargers struggled to keep up with first-place Pacifica and fell to 2-3 overall and 0-3 in Channel League play.

Brentwood School 41, Carpinteria 0

Coming off a bye week Carpinteria could not build on its first win of the season against Channel Islands and failed to score for the second time this season.

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