Saturday, September 20, 2008

Royals stumble against Lompoc


The visiting Lompoc Braves sputtered early, trading errors and miscues with the Royals, but eventually settled down and employed their arsenal of offensive threats against a limited Royal attack to glide to a 24-7 victory.
Lompoc entered the night 2-0 and had yet to give up a touchdown, but did all they could early to spot the Royals a score. The Royals, entering 1-0, also did their part to give away the game. Within the first three plays from scrimmage—and just over a minute of play—each team had taken their turn fumbling the ball over.

“At the beginning of the game, it looked like nobody really wanted to take over the game,” said coach Robin Luken of Lompoc. “It was like you have the ball, no you have the ball.”
Neither team capitalized on the first fumbles. On Lompoc’s second possession they fumbled the ball over again and Royal’s junior defensive end Vashawn Harvey came up with it, but the Royals again failed to get on the scoreboard going three and out.
Lompoc matched the three and out, but botched the punt from their own 16-yard line to give the Royals field position at Lompoc’s 26.
The Royals jumped on the back of what appeared to be their only offensive weapon, senior running back Jordan Kuykendall, to inch toward the goal line before junior quarterback James Crook dove in on a one-yard sneak. After Christian Leon put the extra point through, the Royals led 7-0 with 5:03 left in a crazy start to the first quarter.
Kuykendall would finish with 79 yards on 19 carries.
That touchdown and extra point were the first points that Lompoc had allowed all season. From there, they put the clamps on the Royals and on their own fumble fever for the remainder of the game, only giving up two more first downs on the night.
“We were down but we came back. We came back hard and strong, and that’s the sign of good competitor,” said Luken.
Lompoc’s one-two ground attack of senior fullback Favian Vargas and senior tailback Bobby Collins proved far too much to handle for an outmatched Royal defense that spent nearly the entire second half on the field. Vargas rushed for 113 yards and Collins finished with 114 and two touchdowns.
After the Royal’s score, Lompoc drove from their own 20 down to the Royal two before settling for a field goal. Vargas had a 14-yard run and Collins broke loose for an 18 yarder of his own to muscle Lompoc down the field.
“I’d be surprised if Collins doesn’t end up at a division one school,” said Royal’s coach Dare Holdren. “And Vargas is a stud too. They’ve got some good guys and we knew that coming in.”
The Royals never found their grip on the ball and fumbled again on a punt return to give Lompoc an easy score and the lead at 10-7. The Royals would fumble one more time in the first half but escaped the half without allowing another score.
Vargas took a back seat to the speedier Collins in the second half. Collins went untouched off the left tackle from seven-yards out, and the extra point put Lompoc up 17-7 with 6:32 remaining in third quarter. Collins then put in the final touchdown of the night from 11 yards out with 2:30 remaining in the third quarter. The extra point put the final point up to close out scoring at 24-7.
Royal’s defensive standouts were junior tight end Bennie Kirkwood who recorded a fourth quarter sack to put Lompoc back nine yards. Senior linebacker Adrian Stimpson combined with senior defensive lineman Jonathon Ramirez for a third quarter sack.
Coach Holdren said that he was impressed by how his defense continued to pursue the ball and gang tackle even when they could have let the game and the talented backs get away. San Marcos is now 1-1 and Lompoc stayed perfect at 3-0.

No comments: