Santa Barbara quarterback Abel Renteria accounted for five touchdowns. | Credit: Lily Chubb

Crosstown rivals Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos met under a Friday night drizzle at Peabody Stadium, with the Dons lighting up the scoreboard consistently all night in a 49-0 shutout over the Chargers.

Coming into the game, second-year Dos Pueblos head coach AJ Pateras said the Chargers’ defense had to make the high-powered Santa Barbara offense work for every score. The Dons were fresh off a 55-0 win over Channel Islands, while Dos Pueblos was trying to avoid a second rivalry loss in a row after losing to San Marcos 34-14 last week.

 “We gotta limit the big plays, we gotta make them earn it,” Pateras said before the game.

Santa Barbara came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, with a methodical first drive capped off with a 20-yard touchdown run by junior Koa Herrera to take a 7-0 lead.

After the Dons forced a quick three-and-out, junior quarterback Abel Renteria got going with his first touchdown pass of the night on a 21-yard toss to fellow junior Winston Bartley. On the next Santa Barbara drive, Renteria called his own number on a read option for a five-yard score.

The junior quarterback would throw two more touchdown passes — a 63-yard strike to Bartley, and a six-yard goal-line toss to senior Nathan Barrios — along with another 53-yard score on the ground for a total of five touchdowns on the day. 

On defense, the stingy Dons forced several third-and-longs, and junior defensive back Julian Espinoza capitalized on two mistimed passes for a pair of interceptions that snuffed Dos Pueblos’ scoring opportunities. By the start of the fourth quarter, Santa Barbara was up 42-0.

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“We knew what we had to do to get the job done,” Renteria said, adding that he was excited for next week’s matchup against Buena, a game that could decide first place in Channel League. 

There is currently a four-way tie at the top of the league standings with Rio Mesa, Pacifica, Buena, and Santa Barbara all locked up at 5-1 in league play. 

“Buena’s a good football team, we expect them to bring everything they have,” said Santa Barbara head coach JT Stone. “Our kids know that. They know what this game means, they understand everything at stake, so we’re gonna be prepared.”

Santa Barbara also honored the team’s 12 seniors for Senior Night, but as the team prepares for the last two games of the season before playoffs, the Dons are finding more underclassmen ready to make an impact. In the fourth quarter, Santa Barbara gave freshman quarterback Laird Finkle a shot to control the offense. He led a long drive down the field, chewed up most of the clock, and finished with a 26-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Sammie Congdon. 

“We are loaded with some young talent, and tonight we got to bring some kids up [to varsity] to play,” Stone said.

Santa Barbara is now 7-1 overall (5-1 Channel League) and will finish the season with two big road games. The Dons will head to Buena next week, and will close out the year with the Big Game at rival San Marcos on October 28.

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