VENTURA—Despite an onslaught of blitz packages that resulted in four sacks, four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a blocked field goal, the Buena High football team was able to exact revenge against a Dos Pueblos squad that defeated the Bulldogs in the 2008 season finale, downing the Chargers to the tune of 36-3 in the Channel League opener on Friday.
“They’d been showing blitz, and people have been blitzing us (all season),” said Buena head coach Cliff Farrar. “We practice against the blitz every day, and they did a nice job.”
Dos Pueblos (2-4, 0-1) did its best to contain the Hydra that was the Buena offense, and early on, the Chargers showed up in the Bulldogs’ backfield almost as much as Buena’s stable of runners, who split 42 carries seven ways.
On the game’s opening series, 6-foot-4, 230-pound Dos Pueblos junior Collin Powell made his presence felt, putting Munoz on his back eight yards behind the line of scrimmage. On Buena’s second possession, junior Cody Bidlow sacked Munoz, popping the ball loose. Powell scooped up the fumble at the Dos Pueblos 44-yard-line.
A third sack—this one by Michael Rascon—set up the Chargers’ only scoring drive of the night, culminating in a 36-yard Branden Tangel field goal.
In other kicking news, the cannon-legged Buena boot man—six-foot, 200-pound junior Drew Jacobs—punched five his six kickoffs through the back of the endzone for touchbacks and was perfect on PATs.
But even Farrar’s golden-legged kicker wasn’t perfect, as he succumbed twice to the same pressure that felled Buena’s quarterback corps—once being forced to abandon a punt by tucking the ball and running, and having a 57-yard field goal blocked by senior linebacker Shane Taylor. It would have been Jacobs’ second 50-yard-plus field goal of the season.
While Dos Pueblos had its fair share of highlights on defense, the night most assuredly belonged to Chargers’ counterparts. Buena defenders held Dos Pueblos to just 75 yards of total offense while racking up seven sacks, two tackles for loss and a 51-yard interception return on the part of senior Jordie Rising.
On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs (5-1, 1-0) racked up 381 yards of total offense on the night, led by 6-foot-1, 185-pound sophomore Kendrick Mathis. Of the seven ball carriers Buena utilized, Mathis was the most prolific, rushing 17 times for 104 yards and two TDs, going 2-for-2 passing for 36 yards, catching one pass for five yards and rumbling for a two-point conversion at the end of the first half. Two other Buena runners saw eight or more carries, and four of the six receivers who tallied touches pulled down multiple catches.
“We’ve got a lot of talent, and we’re not a one-man show,” said Farrar. “We have to give everybody a shot at touching the ball. Matt Arve can run, (and) Kendrick, Chase (Smith) does a great job, Kevin (Leiser) and we’ve got a 6-foot-5 tight end in Tyler Perry. We spread the ball.”
Perry was the leading receiver for the Bulldogs, pulling in four catches for 62 yards, including a five-yard fade route to the back corner of the endzone on the opening drive of the second half.
Senior signal-caller Robert Munoz—who saw the great majority of snaps at quarterback—completed passes to five different receivers en route to going 13-for-16 with 175 yards and one touchdown through the air.
“Robert only played part-time for us last year, but he’s just worked his fanny off this offseason,” Farrar said. “He threw the ball continuously this summer … Any time when we have a spare moment, he’s throwing to receivers. He’s not involved in the kicking game, and any receivers who aren’t involved in the kicking game are over there catching passes (during practice). Robert’s probably throwing over 100 passes a day.”