Nathan Barrios rushed for 216 yards on 17 carries against Buena | Credit: ENTENZA

Nathan Barrios rushed for 216 yards on 17 carries and four touchdowns, and the Santa Barbara High football team is still tied atop the Channel League standings after defeating Buena 42-23 on Friday night in Ventura.

The Dons featured a powerful rushing attack led by Barrios and junior quarterback Abel Renteria. The Santa Barbara defense stiffened in the second half as the Dons broke open a crucial Channel League contest.

“I’m just happy that these kids are where we’re at as a program. Before the season we talked about 10-0,” said Santa Barbara coach J.T. Stone.  “It was something I felt that we could get to and to get close to that, what this team puts up with and how this team works I’m just proud.”

With the victory Santa Barbara improved to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in Channel League play. The Dons can clinch at least a share of the Channel League title with a victory over rival San Marcos in the Big Game next week. 

Against Buena, Santa Barbara got on the board first on a 19-yard touchdown run by Barrios with 7:23 remaining in the first quarter. The play was set up by a Buena muffed punt.

However, Buena responded with 14 consecutive points as quarterback Zane Carter came out of the gates hot both running and throwing the ball. He capped off an eight-play, 68-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run.

After an interception by Buena defensive back Erick Guzman ended the ensuing Santa Barbara possession, The Bulldogs immediately marched down the field again and Carter barged into the end zone, this time from two-yards out giving Buena a 14-7 lead.

Santa Barbara took a 15-14 lead after a six-yard touchdown run by Renteria and a successful two-point conversion run by Kai Mault with 7:07 remaining in the second quarter.

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A 28-yard field goal by Carter and six-yard touchdown run by Renteria just before halftime put the Dons ahead 22-17 at the break.

In the second half, Barrios ripped off touchdown runs of two and 50-yards and Renteria found Mault on a 25-yard touchdown pass. The Santa Barbara defense held Buena to seven points highlighted by an interception by Andrew Tobin. 

“Last week I wasn’t so happy with my performance, but I wanted to make it up by showing everyone that I’m the big dog on this team,” said Barrios of his career night.

Santa Barbara is tied with Rio Mesa and Pacifica atop the Channel League with a 6-1 record and will conclude the regular season against San Marcos next week.

San Marcos 42, Channel Islands 0

San Marcos running back Andre McCullough scored four touchdowns to spearhead an explosive offense against Channel Islands. The Royals improved to 4-5 overall and 2-5 in the Channel League with the victory. 

Rio Mesa 54, Dos Pueblos 0

The Chargers conclude their season with a 3-7 overall record and 1-7 in Channel League play.

Carpinteria 17, Nordhoff 10

The Warriors picked up their first Citrus Coast League victory of the season and improved to 3-6 overall.

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