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West Ranch football: Reality check

Wildcats struggle on offense, suffer first loss of the year

Posted: October 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.

LA CANADA - What was supposed to be West Ranch's first real test quickly turned into a harsh reality check.

After mostly cruising through the first four games of the season and putting up big numbers on the scoreboard, West Ranch's offense was silenced in its final nonleague game of the season.

In the end, the Wildcats, who failed to take the ball into their opponent's territory, lost 35-0 to St. Francis of La Canada on Friday night at St. Francis High School.

"That was really a disaster of an offensive performance," said West Ranch head coach Sean O'Brien. "It's hard to gauge the defensive performance. I don't know how many times we gave them a 40-yard field."

Nearly every St. Francis drive began on West Ranch's half of the field, and the result was four scoring drives in the first half to put the game away early with a 28-0 lead at the break.

In all, West Ranch (4-1) gained just 67 offensive yards, 47 of which came from running back Jeff Coprich on 12 carries.

Considering Coprich was averaging 120.8 yards per game coming into the day, it was a positive for the Golden Knights.

"That was a huge point of emphasis," said Golden Knights head coach Jim Bonds. "(Coprich) broke off a pretty good run early. We did a good job against him and that was key."

The best run of the day for Coprich went for 13 yards up the middle on his first carry of the day to get West Ranch to its own 39-yard line.

Quarterback Gerrit Mouw fumbled the snap on the very next play to end what was perhaps the Wildcats' most promising drive.

"It's good for us," said Wildcats linebacker Ben Milleman. "It was a good reality check."

St. Francis (4-0) converted Mouw's fumble into the first points of the game when running back Austin De Los Santos scored on a 7-yard touchdown run.

The Golden Knights led 7-0 midway through the first quarter.

Though it was Los Santos' only score, he led all rushers with 86 yards on 16 touches.

In the second quarter, St. Francis began to capitalize on the short field, scoring three more times.

The first came early in the period on an Austin Finton 3-yard run and the second came three minutes later on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Jared Lebowitz to Travis Talianko.

Lebowitz took the last touchdown of the half in by himself from 2 yards out at the 1:12 mark. He finished 10-of-20 for 170 yards and tossed touchdowns after also adding a 17-yard scoring strike to Jeff Garavaglia early in the third quarter.

"I honestly don't think that we played significantly better in the first four games," O'Brien said. "We just finally ran into an opponent that showed us we weren't as good as we thought we were."




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