The annual Big Game fielded a similar result that’s been seen since 2009 at Huyck Stadium: A Lompoc football trouncing over Cabrillo.
Led by an offense that scored at will in the first half, Lompoc cruised to a 71-13 rout of Cabrillo on Friday – solidifying the Braves’ 10-0 regular season finish and securing another undefeated run through the Los Padres League.
It’s now the ninth straight victory over the Conquistadores for Lompoc in a series that hasn’t seen many close battles. The last 10 meetings have seen the Braves win by an average margin of 39.7 points. The last close contest between LHS and Cabrillo was in Robin Luken’s final season as head coach of the Braves, which was a 28-24 win in 2009.
Lompoc head coach Andrew Jones also continued his dominance of Cabrillo, as the former LHS player and eighth-year head coach has never lost to CHS on the football field.
“I think we had one sloppy drive defensively, but I thought overall we played really well,” Jones said.
One area Jones wanted to correct this season was the Braves’ conditioning levels. He felt his team wore down toward the end of last season, including in that 35-34 loss to Corona del Mar. He was pleased with how energized his team remained in the third quarter, as LHS turned a 50-7 halftime lead into a 71-7 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
“We had issues with conditioning, so we had to make sure in the third quarter we had some series with our ones (starters),” Jones said. “It was a good team win and a lot of guys contributed. Cabrillo kept fighting but our guys came out and had big plays on them.”
Lompoc went straight to its power running attack, with Toa Taua – playing in his final game versus CHS – scoring his first touchdown from 12 yards out that made it 7-0. After Ruben Cortez and Jelani Henderson wrapped up the versatile dual-threat Jackson Anderson on the ensuing drive, Johnny Manzo then scored the next touchdown on an 8-yard jet sweep run. Manzo, who lines up at slot receiver, has taken a liking to executing those plays.
“They’re pretty good but pretty intimidating at the same time. Especdially when I have to guess whether or not I have to go inside or out,” Manzo said, who scored another touchdown run from 32 yards out in the third quarter.
Defensively, Leondre Coleman returned a 24-yard interception to help close out the second. Cortez got the third quarter started with his interception on a screen pass. The next play saw Taua continue to stick the dagger in by rumbling to a 14-yard touchdown that made it 64-7.
While the Braves fired on all cylinders, Cortez felt this game still wasn’t Lompoc’s most complete performance.
“I feel like we messed up on some aspects of the game. We still need to work on the little things,” Cortez said, who was one of many players competing in his final “Big Game” appearance. “I think we let the rivalry game get to us a little bit, Against a better team next week? We can’t have those mistakes.”
Lompoc will likely nab a top four seed in the Division 3 bracket, as CIF Southern Section playoff seedings will be unveiled on Sunday.
“I’m ready for the playoffs. We’re ready to play some good teams,” Cortez said.
Jimmy Gardner, who led the secondary and scored on a 9-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, says he believes the Braves are starting to peak with the postseason now looming.
“I’m feeling good. We’ve had solid weeks of practice lately. We’re starting to mold as one,” Gardner said.
Cabrillo ends the regular season at 1-9 for the third time since 2009. The Conqs have only had three winning seasons since 1997.