After falling victim to two second-half comebacks in three games this season, the Nipomo High football team was not about to let another close one slip away as the Titans snapped a 14-game losing streak with a 33-16 victory over Santa Maria on Friday night.
It’s the Titans (1-3, 1-0 Los Padres League) first victory since winning 39-12 on Nov. 21, 2009 against Verbum Dei in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Northwest playoffs.
“It does feel good for the boys to get back on the winning track, but it’s not like we won the Super Bowl,” Nipomo coach Russ Edwards said. “The main thing is continuing to play second halves well and prepare to battle. We will do something in league.”
Despite losing three fumbles in the first half, including one fumble lost in the end zone, the Titans’ rushing attack still managed 427 yards on 53 carries. Justin Springer had 248 rushing yards and two touchdowns to help Nipomo outscore Santa Maria 20-6 in the second half.
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“We stopped giving up the ball in the second half and as a result, played our best half of any game this season,” Edwards said. “We’re just a few block errors away from being able to rush this well all season. We were blocking the correct people tonight and it really opened it up for Springer.”
Kurt Phillips scored on his only touch of the night with a 67-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Anthony Perez also had 48 yards on four carries for the Titans.
Pioneer Valley 28, Morro Bay 14
The Pirates (0-4) remained winless with the nonleague home loss to the Panthers (3-1).
The first quarter was a struggle for the Pirates, both offensively and defensively. Pioneer Valley ran the ball at will, led by Gabriel Fuentes, who scorched the Morro Bay defense on a 49-yard run, setting up the Panthers for an early touchdown.
Trailing 10-0, Morro Bay pulled within 10-7 when Bryce Owens connected on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Juan Acuña with 1:16 left in the first half.
In the third, Owens fumbled at the Pioneer Valley 32-yard line, ending a promising Morro Bay drive. The Panthers turned the turnover into a Francisco Alcantar field goal, giving Pioneer Valley a 13-7 lead heading into the final frame.
The Pirates struck fast in the fourth when Owens found Acuña again, this time on a 56-yard touchdown pass with 11:30 left that put Morro Bay up 14-13. After the Panthers scored a touchdown and the two-point conversion to take a 21-14 lead, the Pirates had the ball with just over six minutes to go at midfield. Owens failed to convert on a fourth down, and Pioneer Valley added an insurance touchdown for the final margin.
Owens finished 9 for 18 passing with 160 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Acuna led Morro Bay with seven catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns, and Dolin Mininni was the Pirates’ top rusher with 19 carries for 74 yards.
Cabrillo 28, Templeton 21
The Eagles’ fourth-quarter rally wasn’t enough for them to erase an early deficit.
Eagles quarterback Andy Garretson struggled early on. Despite completing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Tobey Isbell to tie it at 7 in the first quarter, Garretson left the game completing 3 of 12 passes for 18 yards and an interception.
Cabrillo scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 21-7 lead.
Eagles running back Matt Arace ran for 108 yards on 22 rushes, scoring two late-game touchdowns for Templeton (2-2) and cutting its deficit to seven. But it wasn’t enough to overtake the Conquistadores (4-1) in the LPL opener for both teams.
“We came on a little late at the end. We fought hard all the way to the end and I was really proud how we responded in the fourth quarter,” Templeton coach Dan Loney said.