Warriors battered by South Torrance

Four key turnovers proved to be too much for the Carpinteria Warriors to overcome, as they fell to visiting South Torrance 44-7.

The Warriors had a promising start to the game. Two consecutive tackles by Carpinteria’s Chris Spann brought up a fourth and short for the Spartans. The Warriors then stuffed South Torrance’s following conversion attempt and forced a turnover on downs.

Carpinteria then marched down the field to the Spartan’s 24 yard-line. The Warriors’ momentum was then halted after losing a fumble on first down.

It would be the closest Carpinteria would get to scoring in the first half.

The absence of injured running backs Oscar Garcia and Rudy Beltran made it difficult for the Carpinteria offense to find a rhythm. “We’re out of guys, is what it amounts to,” said Carpinteria head coach Ben Hallock. “We’re just banged up.”

The Warriors’ defense had no answer for South Torrance’s spread passing attack. A 52-yard bomb from Torrance quarterback Gabe Zuniga to Bailey Bjazevich had the Spartan’s deep in Carpinteria territory.

Hallock described how the Spartans were so efficient on offense. “What they forced us into was a lot of one-on-one tackles. If you don’t make the tackle, then they’re up the field real quickly,” he said. “We just need to get better, and improve our tackling.”

Zuniga finished the game going 19/28 for 297 yards and two touchdowns. Zuniga also added a touchdown run on the ground

According to Hallock, South Torrance’s air raid was caused by Carpinteria successfully gameplanning against the run. “Our plan was to not let them run up the middle. Not allowing them run between the tackles,” he said.

Several plays later, Zuniga and Bjazevich connected again for a 23-yard touchdown pass to go up 7-0 late in the first quarter. Bjazevich had 117 receiving yards and a touchdown in the first half alone.

Crucial penalties and miscues would plague Carpinteria throughout the night. A personal foul penalty called against the Warriors moved South Torrance to Carpinteria’s own 13 yard-line. The Spartans didn’t take long to capitalize, with Vini Bjazevich diving over the goal line for a touchdown to put South Torrance up 14-0.

South Torrance only punted once the entire game.

Lightning struck twice for Spartans, as they intercepted a Carpenteria pass shortly after the ensuing kickoff. A two-point conversion following a 3-yard touchdown run by Vini Bjazevich extended South Torrance’s lead to 22-0 before halftime. It was the second touchdown for the Spartans in less than two minutes.

Carpinteria opened the second half as they did in their first possession. Only this time, they would finish the job. The Warriors executed an eight play, 65-yard drive that was capped off by a short touchdown run by quarterback Jimmy Graves.

The hopes of a potential comeback didn’t last long.

South Torrance responded with a scoring drive of their own. The Spartans overcame two negated touchdowns and completed an 80-yard drive to score once again. Michel Arana ran the ball in from 6 yards out to make it 29-7 midway through the third quarter.

Carpinteria would turn the ball over again on the next drive, with South Torrance’s Bailey Bjazevich picking off a pass on the Warrior 20-yard line. The Spartans scored two plays later with a pass completed to Bailey Bjazevich. A two-point conversion put South Torrrance up 37-7 at the end of the third quarter. Bjazevich finished the game with 156 receiving yards and two scores.

Gabe Zuniga found the endzone halfway through the fourth quarter on a quarterback keeper to make it 44-7, which would be the final score.

Hallock explained how he plans to improve his team moving forward. “We need to play more consistently. We’re still not always assignment-sound, so we need to cure that,” he said.

Carpinteria will host Santa Monica next week.