Despite a close first half, the West County High School football team allowed a scoring onslaught in the second half, falling to San Marin High School in a 57-20 drubbing Friday night in Novato.
West County (1-1 overall, 0-1 North Bay Oak – League) entered Friday’s contest coming fresh off a 35-34 comeback victory over Santa Rosa High School on Aug. 27. This marked an exciting milestone to introduce the new West County football team after Analy High School combined with rival El Molino High School to form the brand-new program over the summer.
“The transition was, I won’t say seamless; but if any group has weathered the consolidation, well it certainly has been our athletes–because like I said they've been working out all summer long, and they are one team,” said West County athletic director Joe Ellwood before the start of the season.
In Friday’s contest, San Marin got their offense off to a hot start –relying heavily on the running game following.
West County struggled to stop Santa Rosa’s heavy run game in the previous week’s win over the Panthers. That trend continued Friday night as the West County defense allowed San Marin to rip off huge gains on the ground.
“We got to do our job, and get our run fits right,” said West County head coach Dan Bourdon.
The Mustangs capped off their first drive with a 25-yard run for a score to take an early 6-0 lead.
San Marin continued to use that successful rushing attack to drive down the field. The Mustangs were on the verge of another scoring drive when West County came up with a crucial turnover as Ian Hocheder scooped up a loose fumble backed up against his end zone.
West County came out running a hurry-up offense. Junior quarterback Sammy Long completed a couple of big passes through the air to put his offense in enemy territory.
A couple of rushes from junior running back Jaden Brady had West County’s offense approaching the goal line. Brady capped off the drive with a 6-yard rushing score.
The Mustangs immediately answered with an explosive drive reaching the end zone on a 50-yard-plus touchdown throw and converted a successful two-point try to take back a 14-7 lead.
Long responded quickly with his own deep ball completing a 70-yard bomb to Solomon Hall, setting up his offense on the Mustang goal line. Once again, Brady ran in another short touchdown to tie the score 14-14 at the half.
The second half played out much differently than the first, and San Marin went on to outscore West County 43-6, including a 36-point third quarter.
Every facet of the Mustangs’ team contributed to the barrage of points in the third.
First, they scored on a punt return and then followed that up by intercepting the ball on the following West County drive. San Marin quickly scored, utilizing their potent rushing attack, and suddenly the lead was 29-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Mustangs recovered the ball after West County’s returners could not secure the short kick. San Marin again made quick work of their drive, this time scoring through the air, and increased the lead to 36-14.
“Just a couple of big plays that they made; a couple of big plays we didn’t make. And you know that swings the momentum fast,” Bourdon said.
Despite the onslaught from the Mustangs, West County kept fighting. A long kick return by Giovanni Visintin put the West County offense on San Marin’s 45-yard line.
Long then completed a 39-yard pass to Hocheder and, on the next play, hit wide receiver Joshua Kidd who made a leaping catch in the back of the end zone.
But the Mustangs still led 36-14, and West County seemingly had no answer for their running game.
San Marin took control of the game by continuing to rip off significant gains on the ground and ultimately walked away with a 57-20 victory after scoring three more rushing touchdowns.