Roberts throws 5 TD passes to lead DP to first win

After losing its first two games and suffering injuries to several starters, the Dos Pueblos football team needed somebody to lift them up and take charge.

Sophomore quarterback Kellen Roberts and the offensive line answered the call. Roberts made the most of the excellent protection he received, throwing five touchdown passes and running for a score to lead the Chargers to a 48-20 non-league win over Santa Ynez on Friday night at Scott O’Leary Stadium.

In only his second varsity game since being called up from the JVs, Roberts completed 16 of 20 passes for 320 yards, with one interception. John Wetzel caught two TD passes, Caesar Flores, Malik Harris and Conner Kanan caught the others. Harris’ was on a 57-yard screen pass.

“Last week really got him ready for tonight, obviously,” DP coach Nate Mendoza said of Roberts, who started at Cabrillo in place of the injured Barrett Burnes. “You can’t really replicate game experience at the varsity level in practice. He got in there last week and found out what it’s like.”

“This week for sure I was more confident,” Roberts said. “I got more comfortable with the offense. It’s much different when I was down at JV; it’s much more complex, but the coaches made it easy for me this week.”

So did the offensive line. They didn’t allow one quarterback sack. And this was a line that had a freshman, 6-3, 240-pound Erick Nisich, playing because of an injury to a starter.

“I think that was the biggest part,” Mendoza said of the offensive line. “Those TDs don’t happen without the protection. Kellen didn’t get sacked once all night.”

Said Roberts: “My O-line kept me very safe tonight.”

Santa Ynez coach Kyle McClurg agreed that DP’s line play made the difference.

“Their O line protected that kid phenomenally tonight,” he said. “And when you don’t have anyone in your face, it’s pretty easy to throw the ball down field and find the open guy.”

Roberts said he felt much more comfortable in his second game at quarterback.

“Last week, I had jitters and butterflies. This week I was more calm.”

It was evident right from the start. He guided the Chargers on a 72-yard, five play drive on their opening series. The big play on the drive was 49-yard pass play to Vicente Baltadano that put the ball at the Santa Ynez 3. Roberts scored on the next play and Manny Nwosu kicked the PAT for a 7-0 lead at the 10:12 mark of the first period.

Roberts threw his first TD pass of the night on the first play of the second quarter, a 55-yarder to Caesar Flores, who made a leaping catch.

The Chargers capitalized on two pass interference penalties by the Pirates to score their third touchdown and go up 20-0. Angel Davison ran five yards for the score. The PAT failed on a bad snap.

McClurg said his team’s pass defense was out of sync most of the night.

“They had five passing touchdowns and on every single one there was a coverage breakdown — somebody just not doing their job and out to lunch and not playing the correct coverage,” he said. “In football, we say you got to do your one-eleventh. All it takes is one guy to not do it to result in a big play.”

Santa Ynez quarterback Bear Redell got his team moving late in the second quarter with his running and passing. But the DP defense stopped the Pirates’ drive at the 15. Brett Filippin booted a 30-yard field goal to make it 20-3 at halftime.

The Charger defense pressured Redell and contained the Pirates’ running game most of the night. Leading the attack were linebackers Isahi Melendez, Jeff Uyesaka and Taylor Leon.

Santa Ynez took it to the DP defense at the start of the third quarter, driving 57 yards for its first touchdown. Redell hit Austin Vreeland on a 4-yard slant for the score, cutting DP’s lead in half, 20-10.

Roberts and Charger offense responded with a touchdown on their next possession. On first down from the 43, Roberts dumped a screen pass to Harris and he bolted 57 yards for a touchdown.

“(The Santa Ynez defense) all thought we were going deep, so we did a short scree to Malik and the rest was him,” said Roberts.

“Hats off to the O for picking us up,” Mendoza said. “We came really flat on defense in the second half and they came after us right away. But we responded with the touchdown and kind of controlled the momentum instead of handing it over to them.”

Filippin kicked a 37-yard field goal for the Pirates to make it 27-13 before the Chargers scored three more times on passes from Roberts. Wetzel caught TDs of 26 and 49 yards and Connor hauled in a 21-yarder.

Wetzel was another backup who rose to occasion when called to fill in for an injured starter.

“This week, John Wetzel stepped up,” Roberts said. “He had a good week of practice. I knew he was going to do well in this game.”

“Lots of backups stepped up tonight,” said Mendoza.

Santa Ynez 0 3 10 7 — 20
Dos Pueblo 7 13 14 14 — 48

First Quarter
DP — Roberts 3 run, Nwosu kick
Second Quarter
DP — Flores 55 pass from Roberts, Nwosu kick
DP — Davison 5 run, kick failed
SY — FG 20, Filippin
Third quarter
SY — Vreeland 4 pass from Redell, Filippin kick
DP — Harris 57 pass from Roberts, Nwosu kick
SY — FG 37, Filippin
DP — Wetzel 26 pass from Roberts, Nwosu kick
Fourth Quarter
DP — Wetzel 49 pass from Roberts, Nwosu kick
DP — Kanen 21 pass from Roberts, Nwosu kick
SY — Hollingsworth, 18 run, Filippin kick