Carpinteria rolls in small school battle

Trio of backs nearly get 100 yards each in 36-14 win over Oaks Christian that will net Warriors a No. 1 state ranking next week for Div. IV schools.

At least one reporter's notebook showed that the only 100-yard rusher in Friday's collision between small school powers Oaks Christian of Westlake Village and Carpinteria wore the burgundy-and-gold uniform of Oaks Christian.

But the host Lions can brag about very little else that occurred against Carpinteria. The visiting Warriors sliced and diced the Oaks Christian defense and nearly had three 100-yard rushers in a 36-14 win that will make them a very strong No. 1 team in next week's Div. IV state rankings.

It was thought before the season that Oaks Christian, with 6-7, 245-pound Kyle McClure and super sophomore Aaron Ware, might be too much for other schools in the CIF Southern Section Div. XI classification. The Lions also were placed at No. 1 in the Div. IV state rankings. But now the question in the division might be: Is there anybody good enough to beat Carpinteria?

"When I looked at the first seven games on our schedule I thought we might be lucky to be 4-3," said Carpinteria head coach Coley Candaele. "And it's not going to get any easier next week when we play Gahr, which is a school that has 3,300 kids."

Candaele, a former option quarterback for the Warriors himself in the late 1980s, was very happy with the way current quarterback Aaron Gonzales ran the team against Oaks Christian.

"We were able to move the ball so well on the ground that we didn't have to throw much," Candaele said. "You have to give all the credit for that to our offensive line."

Oaks Christian had its moments in the early going with a 30-yard drive on its opening series and a 40-yard drive on its second possession. But both opportunities were turned back on fourth down stops by the Carpinteria defense.

The Warrior offense, meanwhile, started rolling on its second series. They went 62 yards in 10 plays with the capper coming on a three-yard burst by Gonzales. The 6-0, 170-pound senior scored again with just 28 seconds left in the second quarter on a one-yard sneak. That ended a nine-play, 76-yard march.

Carpinteria's dominance continued in the second half. Scoring drives measured 77, 55 and 57 yards and took 10, 9 and 7 plays. Gonzales added TD runs of 2 and 14 yards with the final score coming on a 14-yard run by Luis Soto.

Oaks Christian got on the board in the third quarter on a 38-yard pass from Joey Halsle to Joe Giuliani. But since the defense was not doing much to slow down the Carp offense, Oaks Christian's final score, a seven-yard run by Adam Richter, was simply window dressing.

To go along with his four touchdowns, Gonzales wound up with 16 carries for 96 yards. Soto had 12 carries for 78 yards, while Joel Carty had 14 for 97 and Jorge Gonzalez had 6 for 38.

Ware was the game's top ground gainer with 20 carries for 119 yards. He was never quite able to turn the corner, though, against Carp's quick defense and 35 of those yards came when the score was 36-7.

"What a great back Ware is," Candaele said. "We're fast, but we're not that fast. What we did do was keep him moving toward the sideline. We'd have a setback on a play or two, but then we'd come back and make a play."

It remains to be seen how far Oaks Christian will drop in the next state rankings (they come out Monday), but you can be sure that at least Valley Christian of Cerritos will be higher.

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