Carpinteria nips Santa Ynez, 7-0

   A stubborn Santa Ynez High defense and a nagging case of leg cramps wouldn’t deny Carpinteria quarterback R.J. Rosborough during his football team’s season opener Friday.

   The 6-foot-4 junior broke free for a 44-yard run in the third quarter, limped to the sidelines to sit out one play, then re-entered to score the game’s lone touchdown and help the Warriors secure a 7-0 victory at Santa Ynez.

   His 44-yard run keyed a 92-yard scoring drive for Carpinteria (1-0). On the Warriors’ own 32-yard line, Rosborough faked a handoff, busted through the Santa Ynez defensive line and lumbered into the secondary with nothing but the end zone in front of him. While his eyes were on the prize, his legs had other ideas.

   “I was running as hard as I could, but I could feel my strides getting shorter and shorter. My calves cramped up,” Rosborough said. “I wanted to get back out there as soon as I could and score. I wanted to win this game.”

   He fell to the turf at the Pirates’ 24 and left the game for one play. Rosborough re-entered and promptly shoveled a pass to tailback Ivan Millhollin, who scampered to Santa Ynez’s 9-yard line for a 1st-and-goal. Three plays later, Rosborough plunged into the end zone on a 1-yard run. A successful extra point by kicker Emmanual Casillas capped the game’s scoring with 2:44 left in the third quarter.

   “We knew we were coming here for a 5 o’clock game, and we saw it was going to be 102 degrees in the Santa Ynez Valley, so we knew both teams would be cramping,” said Warriors coach John Hazelton, whose team played in the waning daylight because the Pirates Stadium home-side lights were not available. “Our kids have been running and running, and we’ve been keeping them hydrated, but the body is only going to go for so long (in these conditions).”

   “You’d be lying if you said fatigue wouldn’t be a factor here today,” Hazelton added. “It’s just about whether or not you succumb to it, and we had a lot of guys out there who play both ways who were out of gas but kept going.”

   Santa Ynez (0-1) moved the ball well on offense in the second half, compiling eight first downs to Carpinteria’s four. Tailback Parker Colvin carried the load for the Pirates, rushing for 86 first-half yards and finishing with 103 on 16 carries.

   But the Warriors’ defense clamped down at important moments to keep Santa Ynez from threatening throughout the first half. Carpinteria defensive back Justin Alvarado broke up a fourth-down pass to stall the Pirates opening. Santa Ynez was then forced to punt on their next three possessions as the Warriors’ line tightened.

  Carpinteria had a chance to score late in the second quarter, but a field-goal attempt sailed left, keeping the scoreless deadlock intact.

  “We were disappointed because we felt like we hit them hard and won the first half,” Hazelton said. “We told the kids that if they played the same way through the next two quarters, we could win this game.”

  Santa Ynez’s offense struggled in the second half. Its ensuing possession ended quickly as Carpinteria’s Casillas intercepted the Pirates’ first play of the drive.

  But the Pirates’ defense followed by clamping down and forcing Carpinteria into a fourth-and-1 play at the Santa Ynez 48. The Pirates stuffed a Rosborough run play to give their offense good field position and a shot at tying the game.

  With 10:08 left in the fourth, quarterback Casey Eubanks and Colvin combined to mount a threatening drive. They converted on a dramatic fourth-and-9 screen play, with Eubanks dodging would-be Warrior tacklers and Colvin deftly maneuvering along the sideline to liven the crowd earn a first down at Carpinteria’s 23.

  Carpinteria’s bend-but-don’t-break defense would then force a fourth-and-goal at the 13 and a receive a little break from the officials. Eubanks, under heavy pressure, launched a pass into the end zone for a sliding Miller Westfall. Initially, one referee called it a touchdown while the other signaled incomplete. After a brief conference, the officials went with the latter, denying the Pirates of a game-tying touchdown.

  Santa Ynez had one more possession with 3:48 left in the game, but Casillas, Carpinteria’s punter, put a little extra pressure on the Pirates, pinning them on their own 23-yard line with a 58-yard boot.

  “That was a huge play; a huge moment in the game,” Hazelton said.

  The victory gives Carpinteria possession of the “Warriors Spirit Never Dies/Pirate Pride” trophy. Rosborough and Alvarado won outstanding player awards Carpinteria, while Colvin grabbed one for Santa Ynez.