The battle of rookie head varsity football coaches at Huyck Stadium went Frontier’s way on Friday night to kick off the 2017-18 season.
Chris Bandy earned his first career head coaching win over Cabrillo’s new man in charge A.J. Pateras by riding the running game in the Titans 49-16 victory in week zero action.
The Bakersfield area public school rode the legs and power of Antelope Valley High transfer Tye Johnson, who scored twice including an 80-yard scamper that saw him cut inside to his right, then break two tackles for the long scoring run during the first quarter that made it 14-3.
Before that, the game saw a long Cabrillo drive to start – courtesy of two costly Frontier penalties. The Titans were penalized for two personal foul calls, one for taunting after a pass breakup. Those calls got the Conquistadores inside the Titan 20-yard line.
But, the drive ended with Garrett Brackett leaping to the air for the interception, later returning the ball to the FHS 49-yard line. From there, Frontier went four plays for 51 yards that culminated in a Johnson 12-yard score for the first touchdown of the game.
The Conqs (0-1) were plagued by mental miscues underneath a chilly 61-degree night. Quarterback Sean Wood saw his wide receivers drop three open first half passes. The offensive line also struggled with getting a push up front against the Titans’ four man front.
Frontier ended the first half with 291 total yards, while Cabrillo tallied just 80 first half yards.
Jordan Green gave the Conqs some signs of life late in the second quarter, as he penetrated through the middle, extended out his left arm and blocked a Frontier punt. Joey Brown recovered the loose ball inside the FHS 10-yard line. Nikolai Glass ended the drive with his 26-yard field goal boot, cutting the lead to 14-3. J.D. Czajkowski then ended the second with his interception near the red zone.
Frontier went back to the ground attack to wear down the Conqs. Johnson started the third quarter with a 16-yard run up the right. Then, Ernest Jackson took a delayed handoff and rumbled for a 36-yard gain, stumbling near the left sideline on the way to the 17-yard line. Jackson then punched it in for the 1-yard score, putting the Titans up 21-3.
After taking the oxygen away from the CHS run defense, Titans quarterback Dusty Montanio put the game away with his rollout touchdown pass. The junior faked the handoff then bootlegged to his left before finding a wide open Kolton Baker for the 27-yard touchdown.
The Titans’ next touchdown came on a punt block of their own, which was recovered inside the end zone by Blake Komin with less than 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
Sean Wood got Cabrillo in the end zone with 2:26 left in the third quarter, by calling his own number on the quarterback keeper and barreling inside for the 1-yard score that made it 35-9. Cabrillo’s two-point try on a swinging gate attempt stalled, as the quarterback keeper was stuffed inside the two.
Ben Watts scored the next touchdown for the Titans on his 7-yard run that made it 42-9. Then, backup quarterback Ethan Young accelerated his way past the goal line for his 10-yard quarterback keeper run that made it 49-9.
Wood finished the game by combining for two touchdowns, including a late 32-yard scoring connection with Mason Townes with 5:33 left in the fourth.
Frontier improved to 2-0 overall in football games against the Conqs. The Titans took last year’s meeting in Bakersfield 42-6.
Cabrillo will aim to redeem itself at 2016 Channel League co-champion Dos Pueblos next Friday at 7 p.m.