The past season-and-a-half have been a bit hard on the Nipomo High football team.
But, after a Los Padres League win over Morro Bay on Friday night, the Titans feel like the pieces are starting to fall into place.
“This is definitely what we needed for momentum,” Nipomo quarterback Chris Souza said. “Offensively, we had a slow start, and we’ve been having slow starts this entire season, but we started hitting them second quarter and we just kept going, kept fighting and it turned out good.”
With a two-touchdown performance from Souza, the Titans (2-4, 2-1 Los Padres League) grabbed their second LPL win of the year, this one a 21-13 victory.
By no means, though, was it an easy win.
“We had moments there where we let them back in when we were set to bury them, but we came out and played really good defense from the start,” Nipomo coach Russ Edwards said. “I am proud of our offensive line and our backfield just hammering it up in there. That was the difference. Our boys up front got it done.”
They got it done in a big way, allowing running back Justin Springer to rush for a team-high 121 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
“Springer did a great job tonight, we needed him badly,” said Souza, who rushed for 99 yards. “He is a great running back and we’re glad to have him.”
The first half, though, was Souza’s show. He scored on a 7-yard quarterback keeper to put Nipomo ahead 7-0 and then struck paydirt again late in the second quarter on a 38-yard carry to give the Titans a 14-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, he had his first mishap. He threw a backward pass on the right side that was dropped by Colton Lopez and then recovered by Morro Bay. And after a false start penalty, Morro Bay capitalized on the turnover with a 23-yard touchdown run from running back Dolin Mininni.
The Titans didn’t flinch though. They came back on their next drive and punched in a 12-yard touchdown run from Springer to go up 21-7. The Pirates would add another score, a 36-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Owens to Derek Viles, but the rally would fall short.
“Other than the Arroyo Grande game, we’ve played really well this year,” Edwards said. “We’re playing some pretty sound football, it’s just a matter of winning the close ones, and we did that tonight.”
Now, with two league wins, the Titans are in the upper half of the LPL standings. However the road to the top will have to go through Lompoc, a team that won the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division championship a year ago and this season is 6-0 (2-0 LPL), including a game in which they erased a 21-point deficit to beat Arroyo Grande 38-28.
“Every team in our league is a quality team,” Edwards said. “I think Morro Bay is a really good football team. They’re 0-6, but if you look at their scores, they’ve been in every game. Every team in our league is really solid and anyone can beat anyone on any given night. But I think we can win the LPL. We are going to do everything we can to attain that goal.”
For Morro Bay (0-6, 0-2 LPL), Mininni finished with a team-high 62 rushing yards. Jordan Bray added 38 yards on the ground.Owens was 5 for 10 passing with 88 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.