East County Sports

Vaqueros’ quick start erased by Crusaders’ power

iCrew Digital Photos by Tori Fluharty

By James McHugh

© EastCountySports.com

MATER DEI CATHOLIC 28, EL CAPITAN 14 – El Capitan started with a bad quarter last week, and unfortunately for the Vaqueros they paid with a week one loss. Needless to say there was some anticipation of a redeeming start in week two when the Vaqueros traveled to Chula Vista to take on Mater Dei.

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 1.47.17 AMA 47-yard El Capitan punt backed the Crusaders up to their own 2-yard line for their first possession. Two plays later El Capitan had left their week one woes behind. A sack, forced fumble and Vaquero recovery in the end zone and a route looked like it was underway. PHOENIX CATES hooked up with senior CHANCE COLSON for a 5-yard sideline strike minutes later and it was 14-0 El Capitan before the Crusaders had crossed midfield.

Mater Dei was not leaving early however. After trading punts El Capitan turned the ball over on downs at the Mater Dei 43. Five plays later CJ Verdell found a hole in the Vaqueros defense and dashed 33 yards, cutting the El Capitan lead to seven. An ill advised floater from Cates just three plays later was picked off by Jovan Bayless and Mater Dei had momentum at their own 39.

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Cates was under pressure for the remainder of the first half. The Mater Dei drive died when a 32- yard field goal attempt from Alex Golembiewski was well long, but well right. Needing some momentum, and seeing their early lead evaporate, El Capitan went three and out and allowed Cates to be knocked down twice in their next possession. Cue Crusaders CJ Verdell. One play and 68 yards later Verdell had evened things at 14-14 with 2:59 to play in the first half.

Things would get worse for the Pride of Lakeside. With 1:33 to play in the half and Mater Dei facing a fourth and one from their own 42, the Crusaders called time out. Everyone knew the hard count was coming.

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 1.46.25 AMEl Capitan allowed touchdowns on three of the final four Mater Dei drives of the half, their lone stand on the missed field goal from Golembiewski.

Mater Dei started the second half looking like they simply wanted to eat up clock. Short carries totaling 6-yards ate up four minutes. Then the big plays put a dagger in the Vaqueros once again. On the next play Jones found Domonick Anderson, who transferred from Steele Canyon, for the fourth Crusader score of the night. El Capitan saw a beacon of hope as Mater Dei was hit with a penalty for excessive celebration ensuring great field position on the following drive.

El Capitan spent the next five minutes meticulously moving down inside Crusader territory. Then, Quentin Frazier showed up on the defensive end for Mater Dei, picking off Cates at the Mater Dei three yard line and returning it to the 25 before the fourth unsportsmanlike conduct of the night was assessed against the Crusaders. The penalty hurt, but the damage was done. El Cap saw its most productive drive since the first quarter squandered and its Quarterback continuing to face heavy pressure.

The Vaqueros defense that had yielded big plays through the first three quarters clamped down on the next Crusader possession. Cates then led El Capitan to the Crusader 1-yard line after a 13 play drive, but two consecutive stops from the one gave the ball back to Mater Dei with 6:59 to play and a 28-14 lead. This was how things went for the Vaqueros all night long.

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It’s hard to follow the kind of season that El Capitan enjoyed last year. Expectations are sometimes higher than expected and often there are more questions than answers heading into the season. If things are to turn around for El Capitan, priority one will need to be protecting the pocket.

Cates added another interception on the Vaqueros last drive and also endured his seventh sack of the evening. Cates was hit on 18 different throws on the night, many with little to no time to react. Cates finished 21-36 on the evening with one touchdown and three interceptions. Of the 176 yards the Vaqueros racked up in the passing game, 30 came on their second play from scrimmage. El Capitan dropped to 0-2.


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