Royals hang with Bulldogs for a half, lose 38-13

VENTURA — San Marcos’ 38-13 loss at Buena may indicate a blowout, but for a half Friday night it was anything but.

The Royals found success running the ball versus Buena’s defense, and trailed 18-13 at halftime, but the Bulldogs scored 20 unanswered second-half points to complete the Channel League victory heading into next week’s rivalry game against Ventura. San Marcos, meanwhile, has a rivalry game against Santa Barbara on tap.

Royals coach Jeff Hesselmeyer said he felt going into the game that his team could have success running the football.

“That’s what we think we do best is run the ball,” he said. “And our quarterback (James Crook) threw well in the first half. We got some big completions when we needed them that kept us in the game.”

San Marcos entered play with a 2-6 record. The Royals were coming off a 14-7 win last week over Dos Pueblos.

“We knew they had a good team,” Buena tight end Tyler Perry said. “We knew it wasn’t just going to be a cake walk. We came out a little flat, but I’m glad we finished off strong at the end.”

Buena (7-2, 3-1) moved quickly up field on its opening drive, starting from the Bulldogs 29-yard line. Quarterback Robert Munoz found Kevin Leiser for receptions of nine and 12 yards, along with a 39-yard catch by Matt Arve as the Bulldogs finished the six play, 71-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by Arve.

San Marcos (2-7, 1-3) took over, but on its third play Kyle Miller fumbled and Buena took over at the Royals’ 36-yard line. Two plays in, Munoz found Perry for a 19-yard reception that took Buena to the 6-yard line and finished the drive with a pass to a diving Perry for a 12-0 Buena lead.

Special teams played a factor for Buena on its first two drives with kicker Drew Jacobs missing the first extra point try and Buena failing to convert a two-point try on the second score. San Marcos’ offense, which had consisted of three running plays, had two more runs by Cody Clark before Crook found tight end Bennie Kirkwood over the middle.

Kirkwood ran untouched 72 yards into the end zone. Buena answered with a 10 play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown catch by Kendrick Mathis to make it 18-6.

After San Marcos ensuing possession ended in a punt, Buena appeared poised to take control as Munoz marched Bulldogs down to the Royals’ 8-yard line. On first and goal, however, Munoz had a pass picked off. San Marcos proceeded to make a 17-play, 94-yard drive that drained nearly eight minutes off the clock. Crook found Kirkwood for an 8-yard touchdown reception and cut Buena’s lead to 18-13.

“That was great,” Hesselmeyer said. “Used the clock, used some time, made big plays. That was perfect.”

The Royals opened the second half with the football and again found success on the ground, but at third-and-4 on their own 49-yard line, San Marcos committed a false start penalty and punted a play later. Buena took charge from there. Mathis had a 4-yard touchdown reception with 2:41 left in the third quarter for a 24-13 Buena lead. San Marcos went for it on fourth down its next possession. Buena stopped Kirkwood short of the first down, and with possession at the San Marcos 26-yard line, the Bulldogs used three consecutive running plays that culminated with an 8-yard touchdown run by Arve.

Buena tacked on one more touchdown — a 15-yard reception by Logan Norris — before the final horn.

“In the second half our defense responded,” Buena coach Cliff Farrar said. “I was real pleased with our defense. Our offense has been scoring points all year long and doing a great job.”

San Marcos’ Kirkwood had three catches for 87 yards. Crook completed 7 of 10 passes for 122 yards. Clark ran for 61 yards on 16 carries while Miller ran for 42 yards on 10 carries and Mo Cruz gained 42 on five runs.

Buena….18 0 13 7 — 38
San Marcos….6 7 0 0 — 13

First quarter
B — Arve 2 run (kick missed), 9:31.
B — Perry 6 pass from Munoz (conversion failed), 7:08.
SM — Kirkwood 72 pass from Crook (kick missed), 5:55.
B — Mathis 10 pass from Munoz (conversion failed), 0:33.

Second quarter
SM — Kirkwood 8 pass from Crook (Gutierrez kick), 0:21.

Third quarter
B — Mathis 7 pass from Munoz (kick missed), 2:41.
B — Arve 8 run (Jacobs kick), 0:51.

Fourth quarter
B — Norris 15 pass from Munoz (Jacobs kick), 3:25.


First Downs 17, 12

Rushes-Yards 31-136, 43-186

Passing Yards 235, 122

Total Yards 371, 308

Comp-Att-Int 18-25-1, 7-10-1

Punts-Avg. 1-48, 3-41

Fumbles-Lost 1-0, 3-1

Penalties-Yards 5-35, 5-45


RUSHING — Buena: Mathis 17-71, Arve 8-35, Munoz 4-22, Michel 2-8. San
Marcos: Miller 10-42, Clark 16-61, Keefer 8-36, Cruz 5-42, Crook 2-2,
Hernandez 1-4, Kirkwood 1-1.

PASSING — Buena: Munoz 18-25-1-235. San Marcos: Crook 7-10-0-122.

RECEIVING — Buena: Perry 6-85, Leiser 2-21, Arve 3-58, Mathis 2-17,
Selvey 4-38, Norris 2-25. San Marcos: Kirkwood 3-87, Patolo 2-15,
Hernandez 2-20.

TEAM RECORDS — Buena 7-2, 3-1; San Marcos 2-7, 1-3.


  1. RIP Marcos Arredondo…. Royals Football Alum

  2. RIP Marcos Arredondo…. Royals Football Alum