It was a game of records through the air for Dustin Gregg and Gabe Prendergast as the Santa Ynez Pirates sailed past the Pioneer Valley Panthers 42-10 in a Los Padres League football game Friday Night.
“There were things we saw that we knew (the Panthers) were giving us in the passing game and it made it a better night for (Gregg),” said Santa Ynez head coach Josh McClurg.
Collecting 345 passing yards in the first half for the Pirates (8-1, 2-1 LPL), Gregg finished with a school single-game record 435 yards, breaking the previous record of 387. The senior quarterback was 22 of 27 passing.
“All these records tonight, you have to give it up to the offensive line. They gave me time to throw the ball the whole night,” Gregg said.
Gregg also finished with five touchdown passes, eclipsing the mark of 32 career touchdown passes in the first half set by Billy Peters in 2006.
“All the receivers went out and made plays, especially Prendergast on the first (drive),” Gregg said.
Gregg’s first touchdown pass came on the third play of the game when he connected with his senior receiver Prendergast on a short 5-yard pass on the right side. Prendergast turned on the jets as he made a move up field, turning the 5-yard catch into a 74-yard touchdown.
“We haven’t been our best on the first drive of games, to come out and score on the first drive is great,” Prendergast said. “(Vreeland) blocked his butt off which allowed me to get free.”
Prendergast also added two records to the Pirates' history books as the hot target for Gregg. Blowing past his own record of 250 receiving yards in a game set last season, Prendergast finished the night with 295 yards on 13 catches and three touchdowns.
“I have to give it to my team, (Gregg) did a great job but (Gregg) couldn’t have down it without the offensive line,” Prendergast said about his record night. “I have to give it up to the O-line, they did their job tonight.”
Reeling in his third touchdown catch of the game on a 6-yard pass from Gregg early in the fourth quarter, Prendergast brought his career touchdown total to 29 and surpassing the record of 28 set back in 1990.
“(Prendergast) is a special kid. Everyone can watch him high point the ball when the ball goes in the air,” McClurg said. “He goes up and finds it. You can go on about him and (Gregg), they have a really great connection with each other.”
Putting Santa Ynez up 14-0 as the clock expired in the opening frame, Gregg connected with Jasper Kadlec for a 26-yard touchdown pass. Kadlec finished with 50 yards on five catches.
As Santa Ynez’s offense put up yardage and touchdowns, the Pirate defense had no issues stopping the Panthers (4-5, 1-3 LPL) offensive momentum. Pioneer Valley was held to 123 yards of total offense as they faced pressure from Santa Ynez.
“I felt we played better defense in the second half,” McClurg said. “Granted we did get the stops but uncharacteristically we didn’t come out with a lot of energy in the first half.”
The Pirates broke through the Panthers’ offensive line four times in the first half to get to quarterback Mathew Garcia for the sacks. Garcia was sacked five times total.
Garcia was 6 of 15 passing for the Panthers, finishing with 78 yards in the air.
The Panthers’ first points on the scoreboard came midway through the second quarter when kicker Edgar Zacarias booted a 25-yard field goal to cut the Pirates lead to 14-3.
Santa Ynez would tack on 28 more points before Pioneer Valley could get the opportunity to score again. Gregg found Travis Vreeland for a 34-yard touchdown pass late in the first half to give the Pirates a 28-3 lead at halftime.
Prendergast caught his second touchdown of the night early in the third quarter on an 8-yard pass from Gregg. Prendergast finished with four catches over 35 yards.
Panthers’ running back Adrian Garcia broke loose for a 20-yard score with less than two minutes to go for the final score of the game.
Both teams finish the season on the road Friday. The Pirates take on the St. Joseph Knights in a Los Padres League showdown for second place while Pioneer Valley faces cross-town rival Righetti Warriors in non-league action.