Royals blanked by bigger Spartans, 17-0

One team had 14 players listed at 220 pounds or heavier… The other had two.

Rio Mesa was too big in the trenches on Friday night at Valley Stadium, allowing the Spartans to open up gaps and blank San Marcos 17-0. While the Royals defense forced four turnovers, the Spartans racked up 396 yards to San Marcos’ 193.

Speedy running back Jordan Nunnery scooted for 193 yards on 19 carries to lead the way for the Spartans.

San Marcos quarterback Joe Rivera and the Royals had a tough time with Rio Mesa’s size on Fiday night. (Vince Agapito Photos)

“My line was blocking great for me. I gotta thank them for everything they did,” said the 5-foot-6 junior. “The holes were pretty big for me, especially because I’m kind of a small guy.”

Despite the loss, San Marcos coach Jeff Hesselmeyer was pleased with his team’s effort on both sides of the ball.

“I think we played extremely hard, and I’m very proud of our effort… Our guys hit hard and got a lot of turnovers, which was great,” he said. “I think they wore us out a little bit because they had some big guys, but we played hard.

“I thought we played a lot better on defense than we did last week.”

Two lost fumbles and two interceptions were blemishes for the Rio Mesa offense, but head coach Bob Gregorchuk didn’t let it cloud his bright view of the team’s opener.

“It was the first game, and we just had some miscues we have to work out,” he said.

Gregorchuk was particularly happy with the Spartans’ offensive line, citing one effort in particular from senior John Tagum.

“On one of our plays he had his guy down the field 35 yards and he was still blocking him. That was awesome, because we’re always talking about finishing downfield and getting a push. Our line got that for us,” he said.

San Marcos’ Brian Shaw gets to Rio Mesa quarterback Blair Benchwick in the first quarter.

San Marcos quarterback Joe Rivera completed seven passes on 22 attempts for 81 yards and an interception before leaving the game with an injury in the fourth quarter. Rio Mesa’s Blair Benchwick was 10-for-18 with 163 passing yards, two interceptions and a touchdown.

Mo Cruz pounded away for 42 yards on 14 carries to lead the Royals’ ground attack.

San Marcos’ undersized defense was stingy at the start, stopping the Spartans’ first drive on a interception by Garrett Hazarian and not allowing the visitors to get on the board until the 6:15 mark in the second quarter, when Tim Dominguez converted on a 27-yard field goal.

San Marcos ran five consecutive pass plays on the ensuing drive and completed just one for 15 yards, eventually having to punt it away. On the very next play, Benchwick found tight end Ben Quantock on a short pattern that turned into a 64-yard touchdown.

Rio Mesa scored its final touchdown on a 54-yard interception return by Marcus Alford early in the second half.

Jon Kim also had a pick for San Marcos with 2:04 left in the first half, but the Royals fumbled it back to the Spartans two plays later.

San Marcos hosts Beverly Hills on Friday while the Spartans host Ventura.


Rio Mesa…0  10  7  0 — 17

San Marcos…0  0  0  0 — 0

Second Quarter

RM — Dominguez 37 FG, 6:15

RM — Quantock 64 pass from Benchwick (Dominguez kick), 5:02.

Third Quarter

RM — Alford 54 INT return, (Dominguez kick), 10:16.

Team Totals   RM, SM

First Downs    15, 10

Rushes-yards  34-233,  29-66

Passing yards   163,    97

Total yards     396,     163

Passes   10-18-163,     8-27-97

Punts/Avg   1/35,   4/34.75

Penalties   6-50,      4-25

Individual Totals

Rushing — RM: Thomas 5-23, Nunnery 19-193, Alford 4-20, Franco 1-2, Benchwick 3-(-9), Turner 1-1, Saldana 1-3. SM: Cruz 14-42, Kim 5-12, Rivera 3-(-3), Mendez 1-0, Glover 2-11, Lake 2-(-7), Osborn 2-11.

Passing — RM: Benchwick 10-18-2-163. SM: Rivera 7-22-1-81, Loza 1-5-1-16.

Receiving — RM: Thomas 1-1, Hutchins 3-47, Alford 3-41, Quantock 1-64, Nunnery 1-5, #7 1-7. SM: Mendez 2-20, Thayer 1-19, Harvey 1-4, Carreno 1-15, Lake 1-13, Glover 1-16.

Records — RM: 1-0, SM: 0-2.