ESCALON It wasn't exactly a four-overtime playoff thriller, but Los Banos' 20-3 win over Escalon in Friday's opener was plenty close enough for the Tigers.
Tonight, Los Banos hits the road again, this time to face a Roosevelt team in Fresno that LB coach Dustin Caropreso says should be improved from a year ago.
"They have a new head coach whose installed and more up-tempo offense, and they're going to try to go fast," Caropreso said. "So I think he's got them going in the right direction. I think we'll see more discipline out of those guys. We're Looking for a good matchup, and we're looking to get better than last week."
"Better than last week" means LB will want to see an improvement out of its offense, which managed just 130 total yards against an admittedly tough Escalon defense.
"You look at it, and we're one block away," Caropreso said. "We block the middle linebacker a couple more plays, and who knows what happens. We're inexperienced, and as the year goes along, we'll get better. Escalon was basically saying, 'we're going to make you throw the ball to beat us,' and we're not going to put Loggan (Pimentel) in that position."
The bright spot in the win was that LB's offense didn't cough up the ball, while its defense made the difference with a pair of interceptions with Chris Lonetree running his back for a touchdown.
"Chris Lonetree, that was his first interception, and they're capable to doing that," Caropreso said. "I just like how our whole defense stepped up and put it on their shoulders. Sometimes that happens, you're going to have to rely on your defense."
In addition to the two turnovers, LB took Escalon's offense out of the equation, with the Cougars also compiling just 130 yards of total offense.
"The way we preach it, if you win the turnover battle, whether it's high school, college, NFL if you win that turnover battle, there's a good chance you'll win the game," Caropreso said. "That's what we're striving to do. If we've got to punt, we'll punt. We're not going to force it."
Roosevelt opened the season with the opposite kind of game, a 42-41 shootout loss to Chavez-Delano, and with the up-tempo game, the Tigers can expect their offense to get more of a workout.
"It's not panic mode yet. Last year against Escalon, Corpuz threw 300 yards," Caropreso said. "Loggan's not there to say we'll throw the ball 18 times a game. Offensively, we need to get better, and get back to what we do, which is run the football."
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at email@example.com