Buena gets job done vs. Chargers

Angel Davison, running around a block from Manny Nwosu, led Dos Pueblos in rushing with 109 yards on 15 carries.

Angel Davison, running around a block from Manny Nwosu, led Dos Pueblos in rushing with 109 yards on 15 carries.

 

Dos Pueblos lost its Channel League opener on Friday night to Buena, 24-7, but the Chargers may have found a new quarterback.

The Chargers offense struggled through the first three quarters until sophomore quarterback Kellen Roberts entered the game on the last play of the third quarter with Dos Pueblos trailing 17-0. Roberts promptly completed 5 of 7 passes to lead the Chargers on an 80-yard scoring drive, their only one of the night. Roberts finished it off himself with a one-yard plunge for a touchdown.

Roberts then completed 6 of 10 passes on the next drive, bringing Dos Pueblos into Buena’s red zone before an interception in the final minute sealed Dos Pueblos’ fate.  Roberts finished 11 of 18 for 95 yards and an interception in one quarter of play. Starting quarterback Barrett Burnes was ineffective, completing only 3 of 14 passes and failing to lead a scoring drive against a Buena team that had already given up 50 or more points in three games this season.

Chargers head coach Nate Mendoza was non-committal about his quarterback situation going forward.

“Kellen did a great job,” Mendoza said. “He gets limited reps during the week, and he came in and did what we asked of him. He moved the ball for us and was poised for a sophomore.”

Mendoza wasn’t ready to announce a permanent change.

“We’re going to feel that out during the week,” Mendoza said. “They are going to battle and they’ll push each other. We’ll see what happens; we’ll decide by the end of the week.”

The Chargers were the first team with a chance to score after taking their opening possession 50 yards into Bulldog territory. All 50 yards came on the ground as Angel Davison started out with a quick 40 yards on five carries. Davison finished with 109 yards on 15 carries and one catch for 11 yards.

The Chargers turned it over on downs on Buena’s 30-yard line but got the ball right back when the Bulldogs fumbled their first snap of the game. Connor Kanen recovered and the Chargers had a first down on Buena’s 22, but a quick three-and-out led to a missed field goal.

Sophomore quarterback Kellen Roberts, here getting pass protection from Malik Harris and Angel Davison, came into the game in the fourth quarter and led Dos Pueblos' one scoring drive.

Sophomore quarterback Kellen Roberts, here getting pass protection from Malik Harris and Angel Davison, came into the game in the fourth quarter and led Dos Pueblos’ one scoring drive. (Presidio Sports Photos)

DP’s defense forced a punt on Buena’s next possession and the Chargers took over on their own 37. The Bulldogs started to focus on stopping the run and DP responded with its second straight three-and-out.

“We made some good adjustments on defense and certainly it’s great to see our defense step up,” said Bulldogs head coach Tim Gutierrez. “Last two weeks they’ve played great. They’re just coming together as a unit and figuring out the pieces and putting guys in the right position to be successful.”

Dos Pueblos didn’t convert a third-down play in seven tries in the first half.

“They started committing to the run a little bit more, and in turn we need to be able to throw the ball and unfortunately we were not able to do that,” Mendoza said.

Anthony Tennison, who returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter, had another huge play, this time on special teams, when he blocked Dos Pueblos’ punt to set up Buena’s first score. Starting on Dos Pueblos’ 26-yard line, Buena let half back Josh Cookson do the work.

Cookson took four carries 18 yards before catching an eight-yard touchdown pass from Martin Mijares on third down. Buena made it 10-0 on a 40-yard field goal by Jacob Bentivollo with 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Noah Martinez came alive for the Bulldogs on the opening drive of the second half. The senior captain caught a 31-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage after returning the kickoff to the 39-yard line. Martinez finished off the eight-play drive on a three-yard end-around to the left pylon. Buena led 17-0 with 9:04 on the clock in the third quarter.

“For us, we felt like spreading the ball and getting the ball outside the box in the second half was key for us,” Gutierrez said. “They were stuffing the middle pretty good so we just made some adjustments and came to play in the second half.”

Dos Pueblos got one first down on its next three possessions before switching to Roberts. The backup quarterback has already started two games earlier this season when Burnes was out with a concussion.

Cookson was Buena’s leading rusher with 95 yards on 24 carries. Mijares was 15 of 26 passing with 137 yards.

Both teams entered the game with 1-5 records with Buena snapped a five-game losing streak.

“Certainly when you’re 1-5, this is like a second season for us,” Gutierrez said.

Dos Pueblos (1-6, 0-1) hosts Santa Barbara (3-4, 0-1)  next Friday in the first of three games that will decide the City Championship.

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