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Slowed out of the gate

El Camino Real builds a 26-0 lead as Hart loses season opener for second straight year

Posted: September 4, 2009 11:36 p.m.
Updated: September 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.

El Camino Real's Reggie Luckett (2) breaks up a pass intended for Hart's Ty MacArthur Friday at Cougar Stadium.

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Hart football looked like its dominant self in the second half of Friday’s season opener against El Camino Real.

The first half? That’s a different story.

El Camino Real ran for 244 yards and raced out to a 26-0 lead before staving off a furious comeback and earning a 33-28 win over the Indians at Cougar Stadium.

Hart wide receiver Blake Borland had a hand in all four Indians touchdowns, but it proved to be too little, too late.

“It’s tough,” Borland said. “The defense came out soft. In the first half we couldn’t get it done.”

Down by 26 late in the third quarter, Borland lined up under center when Hart quarterback C.J. Reyes came off the field due to an apparent cramp.

Borland rushed for 18 yards on that series, and converted a crucial third-and-9 pass to Ty MacArthur for an 11-yard touchdown to get the Indians (0-1) on the board.

After Jervon Lucas returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown to put the Conquistadors (1-0) up 33-7, MacArthur answered with a kickoff return to El Camino Real’s 32-yard line.

Reyes re-entered the game and immediately found Borland for a 32-yard touchdown. After the Conquistadors turned the ball over on downs, Hart marched 62 yards before Borland plunged in from six yards out on a keeper to cut the lead to 33-21.

“I was just playing off emotion,” Borland said. “After we got our butts whooped in the first half, we knew we had to stay calm.”

The Conquistadors didn’t help themselves with eight penalties for 60 yards in the second half.

A stellar punt by El Camino Real left Hart on its own 2-yard line late in the fourth quarter, but Reyes converted three fourth downs on the drive, and he hit Borland for a 30-yard touchdown with 40 seconds left.

Hart failed to recover the onside kick and ultimately came up short.

But it wasn’t for lack of effort.

“Hopefully we’re the second-half team,” said Hart head coach Mike Herrington. “We marched the ball down the field in the first half but shot ourselves in the foot. Two special teams mistakes were the difference.”

Herrington was referring to Lucas’ return and a crucial mistake midway through the first quarter by Reyes.

Already down 6-0, Reyes lined up at punter but accidentally knelt down to field the snap, which resulted in the Conquistadors gaining possession at the Hart 6-yard line.

Three plays later, Kawan Rally punched it in from one yard out to give El Camino Real a 12-0 lead.

Rally scored the game’s first touchdown on a 23-yard run earlier in the first quarter, and he added a four-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter.

Rally may have capitalized in the red zone, but Rashon Harper did most of the dirty work, rushing for a game high 110 yards on 14 carries.

“We have a lot of guys who can run the ball,” said El Camino Real head coach Kevin Williams. “Kawan had a great first half. We do have some athletes at the skill positions.”

One of the biggest plays of the second half came when Conquistador defensive back Reggie Luckett blindsided Reyes on a pass attempt.

Linebacker Logan Bates picked off the fluttering ball and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown, which gave El Camino Real the 26-0 lead.

It proved to be too steep a deficit for Hart, which wasn’t able to practice all week because of poor air conditions due to the Station Fire.

Reyes was bruised after the game, but he gutted his way to a 12-for-36 performance for 213 yards and two touchdowns.

Hart running back Jake Stephens wound up with 15 carries for 109 yards, while Borland had 93 yards receiving.

Despite the loss, Hart built momentum for itself in the second half.

“It’s the first game,” Herrington said. “When league hits, we probably won’t even remember the first game.”

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