Buena’s ground game too much for San Marcos

In a game of smashmouth football, San Marcos took it on the chin against Buena in the Channel League opener Friday.

The Bulldogs pounded the visiting Royals with a relentless running attack and won 49-21.

Senior running back Andrew Martinez carried 18 times for 157 yards to lead a lethal ground game. Of Buena’s 41 offensive plays, 37 were runs and the Bulldogs piled up 457 yards behind contributions from five ball carriers.

Junior Chris Beeson had scoring runs of 76 and 35 yards in the first quarter to set the pace for Buena. Those two plays helped Bulldogs (2-5, 1-0) build a 21-0 lead after 11 minutes.

“We knew coming in we would be able to run the ball and that’s what we did,” Buena coach Cliff Farrar said.

Senior quarterback Kendrick Mathis also played a central part in Buena’s offense, running for 115 yards (including a 55-yard touchdown) and throwing a TD pass.

Mathis, who also plays defensive back, came up with a big interception early in the third quarter.

Trailing 28-14 at halftime, San Marcos (1-6, 0-1) was on the march on the opening drive of the third quarter. The Royals had picked up four first downs and reached the Buena 14-yard line when Mathis came picked off San Marcos quarterback Wesley Ghan-Gibson in the end zone.

“Kendrick’s interception in the third quarter was big-time,” Farrar said. “If they score on that drive it’s 28-21, everyone’s lively. It was really big. Then we were able to go down and score after that to put them away.”

Following Mathis’ interception, Martinez carried seven times as Buena put together a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. The Bulldogs were penalized three times (twice for holding) during that drive, the first time erasing a Martinez touchdown run. After the third penalty, Buena faced third-and-23 but was unfazed.

Martinez took the handoff, ran off right tackle and broke tackles by nearly every San Marcos defender in gaining 32 yards to pick up a first down at the Royals’ 10. Two plays later, Martinez punched the ball across from the 1 and Buena upped its lead to 35-14.

Andrew Thayer continued an excellent season for the Royals, catching two touchdown passes in the loss.

—The Ventura Star