With a handful of key players on the bench, the Carpinteria High School football team needed to make some quick changes before heading into last week’s (Sept. 6) game against Beverly Hills. One change, inserting Will Collins into the running back slot, returned huge dividends as the six-foot, four-inch, 215-pounder scored five touchdowns in the Warriors’ 57-6 rout of Beverly Hills at Valley Memorial Stadium. It’s the first victory for new coach Mario Robinson, and his team who lost 42-0 on the very same field the week before, making the Warriors 1-1 on the year.
“When we met as a team last week, losing two starters (Danny Grimes and Jacob Macias) to major injuries, we said to them, ‘Hey, which of you guys are ready to move around?’” explained Robinson. “And, Collins was the first one to raise his hand, saying, ’I’ll go anywhere you want, I don’t have to play quarterback.’” Collins, a senior, was slated as quarterback in the season opener. The move led to immediate results. Collins scored the Warriors first touchdown of the year on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Diego Mendez, putting the home team up 6-0 in the first quarter.
Carpinteria got on the scoreboard again when an errant Norman snap went through their own end zone for a safety. The Warriors’ lead moved to 8-0. Following the kickoff, Carpinteria had the ball in a good field position at the Beverly Hills 38. The short drive resulted in another score, as Collins’ 12-yard touchdown-run built the lead to 14-0. Then, Collins tallied his third touchdown, a 15-yard run on the last play of the quarter bringing the score to 21-0.
With a little under nine minutes to play, Richard De Alba stepped in front of a Norman pass, picking it off for an interception at the Carpinteria 23. The two teams exchanged punts, and the Warriors took over at their own 25. On the next play, Collins found room off the right tackle, rambling 75 yards for the score, and giving his team a 28-0 lead with 4:19 till halftime.
However, the Normans made a change of their own, replacing starting quarterback Dan Menache with Thomas Recupero, and making their way to the Carpinteria 40. Recupero then connected with Ilai Dardashti for a 40-yard touchdown play, and the Normans were on the scoreboard, trailing 28-6 with 1:37 left in the half. The Warriors fumbled the ball back to the visitors before the half ended, but Tyler Cervantes’ interception thwarted the Beverly Hills scoring threat, and Carpinteria took a three-touchdown lead into halftime.
The Warriors added another touchdown in the third when Mendez hit Diego Hernandez on a 14-yard slant for a score. De Alba brought down his second interception of the game and third of the season on the next Norman possession. “Last week we let guys get behind us, so we really worked on DBs opening their hips and running and playing the ball,” said Robinson.
Collins ran in another touchdown, giving him five for the night, ending with 157 yards on 13 carries. Carpinteria added another safety, and Hernandez raced to pay dirt on a 58-yard punt return. Mendez added the final tally, a 20-yard run in the final quarter. The junior quarterback completed eight of 12 passes for 155 yards, throwing two touchdowns and running for 81 yards on 12 carries and one touchdown. De Alba took down two receptions for 79 yards.
The Warriors will host St. Genevieve on Friday, Sept.13, with kickoff at 7 p.m. at Valley Memorial Stadium.