New-look Warriors rumble past Nordhoff

A forgettable October ended on a high note on Halloween night for an outmanned Carpinteria football team at Valley Memorial Stadium.

Halloween parties and a pre-game shower scared some fans away from the Warriors’ home game against Nordhoff Friday night. But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the 20 players who suited up in brand-new black uniforms, despite being left for dead after four straight losses.

Justin Alvarado, who got to wear two costumes as a running back and wide receiver, and quarterback RJ Rosborough combined to lead the Warriors to an 18-13 victory over the Rangers in a Tri-Valley League clash.

“I’m so happy for my kids,” said Carpinteria head coach John Hazelton, whose team improved to 1-2 in league and 3-5 overall with their first win over Nordhoff since 2002. “We haven’t won since September. All 20 of our guys worked their (behinds) off for this.”

The Warriors unveiled their sharp-looking black uniforms with the red Warrior insignia and last names on the back of the jerseys that “the players bought themselves,” Hazelton said. “They wanted to feel special, show a sense of pride, and honor the school.”

The new unis brought out the best out of the injury-plagued squad forced to play players on both sides of the ball all night. Alvarado had to count for about five players on the field, as he plays on offense, defense, and special teams, and returns punts and kickoffs.

“He never comes off the field,” Hazelton said. “He does it all for us.”

Alvarado accounted for 151 of Carpinteria’s 266 total yards on offense, catching eight of Rosborough’s passes for 82 and running the ball 12 times for another 69. Alvardo also had a key 37-yard punt return. His role as running back was the new kink that Hazelton threw into his offense.

“We saw it in the film. We were thinking, ‘We gotta get the ball in his hands more,’ ” Hazelton said of the 6-foot, 170-pound senior. “He’s fast, he’s elusive, and he’s tough.”

“My position all through (youth football) was running back, but I never go the chance to play running back in high school,” Alvarado related. “I was really excited to play the position again.”

“He’s a great athlete,” said Rosborough of Alvarado. “He’s a great wide receiver, punt returner, he’s a great all-around player.

“He stepped up big-time. I have a lot of respect for the guy.”

Rosborough, a 6-4, 215-pound junior, already has earned the respect as the Warriors’ leader. He commanded the respect of the Nordhoff team by passing for 142 yards and one touchdown on 16-of-26 completions and running for 41 yards and two more TDs on 18 carries.

Rosborough and Alvarado also played on a Warriors defense that didn’t allow a single point by the Rangers’ offense. Nordhoff scored their only touchdowns on an interception and a blocked punt.

“We came out with the intention of stopping No. 24,” Rosborough said of Parker Johnsen, the Rangers’ workhorse running back who was handed the ball 25 times and churned out 105 yards.

The Warrior defense managed to keep Johnsen out of the end zone, and more importantly, stopped him from gaining first downs on two critical 4th-and-1 situations. But the shutout doesn’t show in the final score.

All five Carpinteria possessions in the first half accounted for all of the scoring in the game. Unfortunately, all the points didn’t count for the Warriors.

On Carpinteria’s second play on offense, Evan Hardman picked off a Rosborough pass and returned it 21 yards for the game’s first score. Jude Rhodes’ PAT kick gave Nordhoff the early 7-0 lead.

Carpinteria answered with a 78-yard, 11-play scoring drive that Rosborough finished on a 7-yard run. But the Warriors still trailed by a point when their PAT kick attempt was blocked.

Graham Craddock’s recovery of Nordhoff quarterback Drew Rodriguez’s fumbled snap at the Carpinteria 40 led to the Warriors’ second score. This time Carpinteria needed only six plays to reach the end zone, Rosborough rushing it in from 10 yards out for a 12-7 lead with 9:28 to play in the second quarter. His PAT pass attempt failed.

But the Warriors gave the lead back trying to get a punt off from their own 35-yard-line on their next possession. The hike to punter Jeremy Stein skidded on the wet surface and he vainly scrambled to get the kick off.

Nordhoff’s Cody Burr scooped up the dribbling ball and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown that put Nordhoff back on top 13-12 with 3:48 remaining in the half. The Rangers tried for two on the PAT and didn’t succeed.

Carpinteria kept the ball the rest of the half on a 15-play scoring drive covering 75 yards. Alvarado caught three passes along the way, including a key 3-yarder on a 4th-and-1 at the Nordhoff 36. He also was the intended receiver on a big personal foul against a Ranger defender covering him on a long pass, which gave the Warriors another first down to the Nordhoff 20.

Ivan Millhollin, given a chance to redeem himself for dropping a pass in the end zone, held onto Rosborough’s very next pass for a 10-yard TD just four ticks away from intermission.

Despite the failed PAT, Carpinteria held an 18-13 lead entering halftime.

Hazelton played it conservatively in the scoreless second half. After gaining 13 first downs in the first half, the Warriors managed only four more in the second.

But the Carpinteria defense wouldn’t allow the Rangers to gain any traction in the second half.

Nordhoff came up inches short of a first down on two fourth-down plays, including Johnsen’s no-gainer on 4th-and-1 at the Carpinteria 45 with 3:14 remaining in the game. Warrior defenders Nick Razo and Jacob Blackwell combined to make the stop on Johnsen.

Rosborough’s interception of a Rodriguez pass at the Nordhoff 45 with 1:45 remaining virtually sealed the deal. The Rangers got the ball back in their territory with 13.5 seconds left. But a wishful John McCain-type comeback wasn’t in the offing.

Nordhoff………….7 6 0 0– 13

Carpinteria……….6 12 0 0– 18


N- Hardman 21 interception return (Rhodes kick), 8:54.

C- Rosborough 7 run (kick blocked), 2:52.


C- Rosborough 10 run (pass failed), 9:28.

N- Burr 28 blocked punt return (pass failed), 3:48.

C- Millhollin 10 pass from Rosborough (pass failed), 0:04.

TEAM TOTALS     N      C

First Downs           10       17

Rushes-Yards   30-113    40-124

Passing Yards        101      142

Total Yard             214       266

Passing             9-14-2      16-26-1

Punts-Avg         2-42.5       5-35.6

Fumbles-Lost       1-1         1-0

Penalites              6-46        6-61


RUSHING — N: Johnsen 25-105, Rodriguez 3-7, Crow 1-2, Burgess 1- (minus) 1. C: Alvarado 12-69, Rosborough 18-41, Millhollin 5-10, Razo 3-4, Caudillo 2-0.

PASSING — N: Rodriguez 9-14-2-101 yards. C: Rosborough 16-26-1-142 yards.

RECEIVING — N: Crow 4-48, Quinn 3-36, Wolcott 1-14, Doolittle 1-3. C: Alvarado 8-82, Millhollin 3-22, Sanchez 2-18, Chavez 1-20.

RECORDS — N 4-4, 1-2, C 3-5, 1-2.