Saturday, Sep. 20, 2008
Victory at last: Los Banos ends 11-year losing streak in Westside War
By SEAN LYNCH
DOS PALOS -- The few thousand Los Banos fans at Ike Frankian Field buzzed as Rubal Sangha cradled a kickoff at his own 3-yard line.
Sangha zigged a little in each direction and then chose his spot -- right down the middle.
A sea of bodies converged into a blue and white scrum and the Los Banos faithful erupted in screams of jubilation as Sangha emerged from the pack.
As Sangha whooshed into the open field, Dos Palos' 11-game winning streak in the Westside War disappeared with him.
Sangha's school-record 97-yard kick-off return was the start of a brilliant evening for "The Showman."
It was the capper on a near-perfect first quarter for Los Banos, which rolled to a 49-10 victory on Friday night.
"It was a momentum builder," said Sangha, who also hauled in two TD catches and totaled 93 receiving yards.
"It was important for this team to come together and break the streak.
"We couldn't have hoped for better."
Los Banos (2-1) took advantage of its size, dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Quarterback Erik Martin was given plenty of time to rack up 182 yards and two touchdowns with a 10-for-15 passing performance.
The LB running game fared pretty well, too, as Darron Brown picked up 75 yards and two scores -- while Saul Zavala added 86 yards and a TD.
In just about two and a half quarters of action, coach Dennis Stubbs' first unit compiled 306 yards of total offense and five touchdowns.
"I've only been a part of this for two years, but we could feel the pressure," Stubbs said.
"Sometimes I think they brought me in here just to win this one game, so it's nice to get this achievement out of the way early.
"This was an intense week of practice and us coaches were getting pretty heated about our schemes.
"Finally, we decided to go back to basics and just go with our base defense.
"It worked out OK."
The Los Banos front seven owned the line of scrimmage and Dos Palos' quarterbacks paid the price.
DP starter Ryan Yriarte left the game after suffering a head injury in the opening series.
Backup Steve Perez wasn't treated much better.
Perez fumbled a handoff, which LB's Zachary Deges picked up and returned 23 yards for the score.
Perez also took a beating, as Los Banos sacked him seven times.
Linebacker Ronnie Clarke led the way with 2.5 sacks.
"This game meant everything to us," Clarke said. "Our parents, uncles and brothers have all played in this match-up, and so it was important to a lot of people that we end the streak tonight."
Dos Palos (1-2) could only muster 36 total yards against LB's first unit, including a minus-10 yards with its vaunted rushing attack.
"They were bigger, faster, stronger and we were banged up," Dos Palos coach Mike Sparks said. "It was total domination.
"I've got nothing but praise for Los Banos tonight."