The focus is now this for the Santa Ynez football team: Look at the Cabrillo rout, then immediately dive into studying undefeated Lompoc.
On homecoming night, the Pirates trounced Cabrillo 58-0 at home on Friday to stay unbeaten at 7-0, plus further adding intrigue to the Oct. 20 heavyweight contest at Huyck Stadium against the Braves.
It's the third straight time the Pirates have beaten the Conquistadores and the 13th victory over CHS in this traditional Los Padres League rivalry for SYHS since 1997.
Dustin Gregg engineered a Pirate offense that scored on three of its first four offensive possessions in the first quarter – building the 21-0 lead after one. The lead later inflated to 49-0 at halftime as Travis Vreeland scored twice on receptions of 13 and 63 yards, Vinny Vacca returned a deflected football 24 yards for the interception touchdown and lastly, Gabe Prendergast scored on a 75-yard interception return.
After the game, head coach Josh McClurg praised the intensity level of his team on not only homecoming night, but witnessing his own guys refusing to look ahead to Lompoc right away.
“I thought our tenacity was great,” McClurg said. “We try to hit as much as we can and they had a dangerous quarterback. That quarterback scared me. So did Ben Dixon, but I felt Prendergast did a good job on Dixon. More important, I thought Gabe Palato and the defensive line played their tails off tonight.”
Igniting the Pirates’ high-octane offensive machine were the usual suspects in the orange and black: Gregg, Jasper Kadlec and Prendergast. The latter, who along with Gregg was one of the homecoming King nominees, scored on offensive touchdowns of 28 and 15 yards – plus had two touchdowns called back due to penalties.
While it’s the fourth time this season the Pirates scored past 50 points, Prendergast said the feeling of winning by 58 isn’t something he and the Pirates can get carried away with.
“It doesn’t feel as good as you think because honestly, we were in this position the past two years. It doesn’t feel as great because we have three really good teams coming up,” Prendergast said. “We take it game-by-game and don’t focus on the week after, more like the week at hand.”
In the last two years, the Pirates’ bid to reach the postseason first took a tumble against Lompoc and then followed with a loss to St. Joseph. Gregg, who threw five touchdowns on the night, says he doesn’t want to look at the Braves immediately and instead wants to break down the CHS film first.
“We have to look through the Cabrillo film and look at what we did right and what we did wrong,” Gregg said. “But now, we’re on to Lompoc now and they’ve got stars all over. We have to see what we can do and match up against them.”
McClurg and the Pirates (also 1-0 in the Los Padres League) prefer the “one game at a time” mantra that’s common in sports, but now he and his team can focus on who is on the horizon next.
“We have to keep our routine and our routine is: We have to look at the film of this game tonight with the coaches and tomorrow we’ll look at the Cabrillo film again. Then at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, we start looking at Lompoc. It’s a tough task. It’s evident we are the underdogs as is everybody who plays them. But that’s a great position for us to be in – as underdogs.”
Added Prendergast: “I’m looking forward to a great game.”