The opening period began calmly on Friday, with Miguel Alcantar’s 26-yard field goal ending an early Pointer drive that stalled after a Branden Martin to Jake Wambaugh pass to the Falcons’ one-foot line was called back on a holding penalty.
But when Scripps Ranch was unable to move the ball following the kickoff, backup Point Loma quarterback Avery Cramer came from the edge, bursting through the Falcons’ punt protection to block the attempt. The ball was picked up by a Falcon and advanced, but not far enough for a first down.
The Pointers took over at their opponent’s 25-yard line and Martin ran to his left on a keeper, avoiding Falcon defenders for a 25-yard score. The Pointer lead moved to 10-0 with 4:37 to play.
After another three-and-out by the Pointer defense, a Falcon punt into the notorious westerly winds at Pete Ross Stadium gave the Dogs good field position. A 36-yard run by Sydney Rush and a five-yard touchdown blast by Jamal Agnew pushed the lead to 17-0 with 28 seconds left on the first-period clock.
“We were super excited to get that momentum early in the game,” said Pointer head coach Mike Hastings. “I thought we really set the tone early.”
The Falcons scored their only points after mounting a drive that consumed nine minutes of the second quarter before being halted. The Pointers were penalized for roughing the kicker on a failed field goal attempt before the second attempt from 39 yards sailed through the uprights.
A third-quarter Pointer drive ended when a fourth-down attempt fell short at the Falcon four-yard marker before a two-yard run by Ja’Markus Watkins closed out the Dog scoring with 2:29 left in the game.
On the afternoon, Martin completed three of seven tosses for 69 yards, and six players (Martin, Rush, Watkins, Agnew, A.J. Smith and Johnny Maes) combined for 203 yards on 38 running plays, an average of 5.3 yards per touch.
Defensively, Greg Verdugo had five solo and seven assists for 12 total tackles. Zach Eischen (5, 5), Agnew (2, 7) and Steven Arreola (4, 5) led the stingy Pointer defense that did not allow a touchdown for the first time this season.
Wambaugh registered a sack for a 19-yard loss and Agnew picked off two errant Falcon pass attempts. All four of Alcantar’s kickoffs sailed into the end zone for touchbacks.
“We were really happy with the way the kids came out and played all three phases of the game,” Hastings said. “Our defense really clamped down on them. And we’ve had zero turnovers in the last eight quarters.”
The Pointers renew an old rivalry when recent Western League addition Kearny arrives Friday, Oct. 5 for a 3 p.m. battle at Bennie Edens Field. The Komets (two wins, four losses) recently made headlines when they were ordered to minimize the iconic stripes that have identified their uniforms for decades to satisfy a new ruling.
On Oct. 12, Friday Night Lights returns for PLHS Homecoming as La Jolla’s Vikings sneak onto Pointer turf attempting to abscond with “The Shoe” trophy in one of the city’s longest-running rivalries. The Vikes are laboring under a 1-4 win-loss record but shut out Coronado 21-0 on the Islanders’ field for their lone win. Kickoff under the lights is at 6:30 p.m. An overflow crowd is expected.
• Asked what prompted the two-game Pointer win streak after a two-game slump, Hastings quickly replied, “They got tired of losing and tired of going out and not performing to the level they’re capable of.”
• The Scripps Ranch game was selected as the National Football Foundation “Game of the Week,” and linebacker Verdugo was named Most Valuable Player for the Pointers. He will attend a Chargers game and season-ending banquet for his effort.
• The PLHS junior varsity (4-0) and freshman teams (4-1) continued their winning ways.
• Robert Pejovich, whose son, Robby (a linebacker, long-snapper, class of 2011) who is studying at Boise State University, is taking responsibility once again for setting up two-dozen rented generator trailers for the Oct. 12 Homecoming lighting. Pejovich is hoping a small army of volunteers will turn out to help.
Pointers tame tigers in 38-6 rout
On Sept. 21, the Pointers broke a two-game losing slump with a convincing 38-6 drubbing of Morse.
The victory evened the Dogs record at 2-2 and marked the return of tight end/defensive end Jake Wambaugh, who wasted no time making his presence felt. The junior scooped up a loose ball after teammate Verdugo blocked a Tiger punt attempt and lumbered 25 yards for the first score of the game midway through the first period.
Martin ran for one touchdown (two yards) and threw for another (46 yards to Agnew). D.J. Lacy (10-yard touchdown, 13 carries for 105 total yards) and Johnny Maes (five-yard touchdown) inflicted further damage. Alcantar’s 32-yard field goal rounded out scoring as the Pointers totaled 283 yards in offense (79 passing, 204 rushing).
Sophomore Jake Virissimo led all tacklers with six solo and four assists. Eischen (5, 3), Verdugo (4, 3) and Arreola (2, 5, plus a fumble recovery) also had big games. Mario Fregoso and Virissimo were credited with sacks.
The Pointers led 21-6 at halftime and 31-6 after three periods.