A nearby fire nearly halted the Morro Bay-Cabrillo football game.
But the game went on – and both offenses caught fire at Huyck Stadium, combining for 47 first-half points before the Conquistadores pulled away for their first win of the season, defeating Morro Bay 47-42 on Friday night.
Head coach A.J. Pateras immediately gathered his guys after the game – and raved about the resiliency of his team following the 0-5 start.
“That’s pretty sweet, huh?” Pateras told his team as he pointed his finger at the final score. “It took every ounce of us to get out of this our own way.”
And, Pateras kept his guys focused as the nearby fire raged on.
“Everyone asked ‘What are we doing?’ And I told them ‘We’re going to work guys. We got a football game. Then the kids settled down and focused. It’s really nice to see our guys battle all night long,” Pateras said.
Five hours before the kickoff at Huyck, smoke filled the Lompoc skies – putting the non-league football game in jeopardy of not playing. A blaze broke out near Mission Hills on Friday afternoon, causing evacuations of the small community and placing the evacuees inside Lompoc High’s Bryan Ayer Court. Black smoke towered over the hills and shadowed over the surrounding communities in the Lompoc Valley – which caused concerned for CHS as to whether or not the game should go on.
But at approximately 3:40 p.m., CHS athletic director Dan Troup told the Times that the game would go on as planned. An active scoreboard lit up after the opening kickoff.
Cabrillo struck first on its opening drive, as junior quarterback Jackson Anderson scored from 29 yards out for the first score. Morro Bay would return the favor on a Mike Unks 84-yard reception, tying the game at 7-7.
The Conquistadores (1-5) saw Scott Reavy of MBHS step in front of an Anderson throw and snatch the interception, taking the ball inside the CHS 40. The drive, however, stalled for the Pirates as the Conqs stuffed MBHS on fourth-and-three.
Anderson would call his own number again – this time galloping past the middle of the Pirates’ defense for the 59-yard touchdown and putting his team up 14-7.
After a deep Nikolai Glass punt buried the Pirates at their own 1-yard line, Morro Bay gained some breathing room on an encroachment call, placing the ball at the 6-yard line. Xavier Bruce took it from there – scoring on a 94-yard reception and tying things up 14-14.
After Reavy scored from 69 yards out on a reception, Cabrillo would end the second quarter by out-scoring the Pirates 12-0. Anderson found J.D Czajkowski on a 46-yard strike. Then, Anderson ended the second with a 1-yard touchdown run, putting the Conqs up 26-21 at the half.
Anderson continued to carry the Conqs with his arm and legs, adding two more touchdowns in the third quarter and combining for six touchdowns through the first three quarters. He ended his evening with seven combined touchdowns – four from the ground. Before the game, Anderson immediately saw the weaknesses in the Morro Bay defense.
“They crashed their ends a lot, so I was taking advantage of getting outside a lot,” Anderson said. “We came in ready to pound them down a lot. They weren’t good versus the run. It feels good. I had confidence in my team.”
The game was sealed when Tito Miza powered through on a gutsy blast run on fourth and eight, picking up the first down and energizing the CHS sidelines.
Due to the fire, traffic became heavy on Highway 1 heading toward Lompoc. Cabrillo’s band wound up missing the game due to the traffic and transportation issues from the Rucker Fire.
Cabrillo will now open Los Padres League play next Friday as they take on St. Joseph at Huyck Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.