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SM Defeats DP 27-10 in “Battle of the Goodland”

By Tim Heiduk

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Quarterback Barrett Burnes (#13) is pressured by a San Marcos defender. SM’s defense recorded nine sacks, leading SM to a 27-10 victory over Dos Pueblos. (Photo / Luke Coffey)

Quarterback Barrett Burnes (#13) is pressured by a San Marcos defender. SM’s defense recorded nine sacks, leading SM to a 27-10 victory over Dos Pueblos. (Photo / Luke Coffey)

In an away game at San Marcos on Friday, Oct. 24, Dos Pueblos quarterback Barrett Burnes was sacked on the second play of the game. This would be the first of many sacks, as SM’s defense recorded nine in total, leading the Royals to a 27-10 victory over the Chargers in the “Battle of the Goodland.”

The relentless Royals’ defense, led by linebacker Nathan Coffey and defensive end Sam Charest, pressured DP’s quarterback seemingly every time he dropped back to pass. DP Offensive Coordinator Matt York explained SM ran a cover zero defense designed to “overwhelm [DP] with numbers up front.”

“We made a couple [of] transitions, but they did a really good job of staggering when they came, which caused our [offensive] line little fits,” said York. “They’d get engaged with one block, and then turn their back a little bit. And their linebackers [did a] really good job of just shooting that gap and just really taking it to our quarterbacks.”

The Royals’ defense forced two DP turnovers, fumble recoveries by Paul Gularte and Russell Biolley. Along with its penetrating pass rush, SM did not allow DP much room in the running game either.

“They [San Marcos] were just tough up front. They had a really strong D-line and their two linebackers played just really solid games for them,” said York. “So, that allowed them to do a lot of things up front. They were able to, for the most part, control the line of scrimmage, and it was tough for us to really get our horses going from our backline at that point.”

After forcing a three-and-out on DP’s first possession, SM drove the ball into DP territory and opened the scoring with Coffey’s 28-yard field goal.

DP responded with a field goal of its own, set up by junior Vicente Baltadano’s 62-yard kickoff return. Senior Nathan Garcia put the Chargers on the board with a 29-yard field goal, tying the score at 3-3.

Neither offense could muster much offensively for the rest of the first half, until the Royals took advantage of quality field position to regain the lead with 1:20 left in the second quarter. After forcing DP to punt, SM started with the ball at DP’s 40-yard line. SM quarterback Sage Reid then passed to Inri Cortez for a 30-yard score, and SM headed into halftime with the lead, 10-3.

It was the second straight game that DP gave up a late first half touchdown, to go into halftime losing instead of tied. Last week against Santa Barbara, the Dons scored a 40-yard touchdown on the last play of the half to take a 14-7 lead.

The Royals came out of the locker room strong, scoring on their first two possessions of the second half. Ivan Reyes pounded it into the end zone from one-yard out and then Coffey added a field goal to increase SM’s lead to 20-3.

After fumbling early in the fourth quarter, DP got the ball right back when junior Austen Pearce recovered an SM fumble. DP then converted on two fourth downs, leading to a 20-yard touchdown catch by junior wide receiver Josh Flora, cutting SM’s lead to 20-10 with 7:42 left in the game.

It was Flora’s fourth touchdown catch of the season.

Sophomore quarterback Kellen Roberts passed to senior running back Angel Davison on 4th and 2 for a gain of 20 yards, before connecting with Flora for a touchdown on 4th and 10.

DP stopped SM on the Royals’ next possession, and got the ball back, but it was too little, too late for the Chargers. SM’s Reyes finished the scoring, rushing for his second touchdown of the game with 1:11 left.

The Chargers switched between Burnes and Roberts as quarterback throughout the game.

“Both those guys were real tough. They were taking some wide open shots from guys with free runners from eight to ten yards away,” said York. “Both bouncing up, they both asked to come in, and we were making a switch here and there to give one guy a breather or to collect themselves. You know, they subbed out, and were the first guys there cheering for the other guy on the sidelines. So, I mean, I am really proud of the way those guys played. I’m really proud of the way that they support each other.”

Sophomore wide receiver Blake Erwin led the Chargers with 50 receiving yards, which included a 37-yard reception from Burnes. Junior linebacker Isahi Melendez forced a fumble for the Chargers.

With the win, SM (3-5 overall, 1-1 Channel League) snapped DP’s four-game winning streak in this “Battle of the Goodland” matchup. SM visits Buena on Oct. 31, before facing off against rival Santa Barbara the following week on Nov. 7. The winner of that game will be crowned City Champion.

DP (1-8 overall, 0-3 Channel League) finishes its season next Friday, Oct. 31 away at Ventura (7-1 overall, 2-0 Channel League), who is ranked fourth in the CIF-SS Western Division.

“You feel bad for the seniors, you want them to feel their victory,” said DP Head Coach Nate Mendoza. “But, you know, it just wasn’t in the cards tonight. We have seven days left with the kids, and we’ve got to cherish those moments.”

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SM Defeats DP 27-10 in “Battle of the Goodland”