Oxnard too much for San Marcos to handle

OXNARD — San Marcos got an up-close-and-personal look Friday night at the type of football team it hopes to be by the end of the season.

The Royals took one on the chin as they were overpowered by a bigger, more talented Oxnard squad 47-7 in a non-league game at Houser Field.

Sam McCowan, working behind a huge offensive line, tore through the San Marcos defense for 222 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just 14 carries to lead the undefeated Yellowjackets (4-0).

“I’ll tell you, they were a better team than we were tonight,” San Marcos coach Dare Holdren said. “We made a lot of mistakes and it didn’t come out the way we wanted to, but you have to give them credit. They were by far the better team. Right now, they are a better team than us. We hope to be where they’re at at the end of the season.”

The Royals (2-2) caught Oxnard on a night it was out to prove something. Yellowjackets coach Mark Beckham said his team didn’t play well last week in a 20-3 win over Buena.

“We were a little flat last week and didn’t capitalize on some opportunities we had, and tonight we were able to do that early,” said Beckham.

Oxnard scored three of its touchdowns following San Marcos turnovers.

McCowan set the tone early for the veteran Yellowjackets. After a botched pitchout resulted in 16-yard loss to the 5-yard line on the second play from scrimmage, McCowan took a handoff on the next play, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and bolted 90 yards down the right sideline. Kirk Renga hustled and made a touchdown-saving tackle at the 5 for San Marcos.

Oxnard quarterback Dasmen Stewart made sure McCowan’s work wouldn’t be wasted as he shuffled through the line for a touchdown on the next play.

Stewart and McCowan are two of many talented senior players on the Oxnard squad —the team has 13 returning starters, including nine who have started for three seasons.

Dillon Romero, another senior, picked off a pass from San Marcos quarterback James Crook and the Yellowjackets would cash in six plays later, with Stewart lofting a perfect pass to senior receiver Jamal Smith in the end zone. Martin Gonzalez’ PAT kick made it 14-0 with 10:44 to go in the first quarter.

“They probably have more talent than we do, and we have to play as a team to be able to compete with teams like that,” Holdren noted.  “Unfortunately, we had some breakdowns on some big plays.”

The Yellowjackets turned McCowan loose again. He scored the first of his three TDs on a 19-yard run early in the second quarter and then exploded on a 68-yard gallop after Oxnard held the Royals on downs at the 33.

“You can’t give a good player like that a crack,” said Holdren. “You can’t give him a free gap, where he’s going to exploit you and he did. He’s a fantastic player.”

His third TD was a 2-yard run that came after San Marcos fumbled a kickoff.

Beckham is certainly happy to have a player of McCowan’s talents on his squad.

“He’s a great kid and a great running back,” the Oxnard coach said. “He was a little frustrated last week because we didn’t block particularly well, but he had a great night. He was ready to play.

“That’s not great coaching, that’s just giving him the ball.”

McCowan gained 204 yards rushing in the first half as Oxnard rolled to a 33-0 advantage.

Despite the lopsided score, San Marcos kept plugging away and moved the ball in the second half. Jake Buchanan was brought in at quarterback and did an effective job throwing the ball. He completed 11 of 16 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown with one interception.

The touchdown was an eight-yarder to Austin Nichols in the fourth quarter, capping an 80-yard drive. Buchanan completed six passes on the drive.

“We had some bright spots,” Holdren said. “No. 15 (Buchanan) came in and did a nice job and our receivers caught the ball.

“Another positive thing is we never gave up,” he added. “We’re down 33-0 at halftime and we easily could have sent it in, but we kept playing hard.”

Running back Cody Clark exemplified the Royals’ never-give-up attitude. He churned out 112 yards on 24 carries, giving him back-to-back games of 100-plus yards.

“Give them credit, they played tough.” Beckham said of the Royals. “They won two ball games against two teams in our league (Rio Mesa and Hueneme). We didn’t want to take them lightly. I told my guys, ‘San Marcos always plays us tough. We want to go out and make a statement and play well,’ and I thought we did that.”


San Marcos… 0   0  0  7 —  7

Oxnard……14  19  7  7 — 47

First quarter

O — Steward 5 run (Gonzalez kick), 10:44

O — Smith 22 pass from Stewart (Gonzalez kick), 6:57

Second quarter

O — McCowan 19 run (Gonzalez kick), 10:12

O — McCowan 68 run (kick blocked), 6:14

O — McCowan 2 run (kick failed), 4:45

Third quarter

O — Stewart 6 run (Gonzalez kick), 5:44

Fourth quarter

SM — Nichols 8 pass from Buchanan  (Garcia kick), 11:05

O — Gavin 6 run (Gonzalez kick), 6:09