By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Castaic football (0-1) dropped its first varsity game to the visiting Adelanto (1-0) 26-7.
The running attack of Adelanto’s Arthur Parker and Keith Reynolds would be too much for Castaic to overcome. Not much else went right for the Saints but the running game was enough to put Castaic away.
The Coyotes managed a long opening drive with two first downs but were turned away after going for it on 4th and 3.
Adelanto would strike first in their first possession. Senior Keith Reynolds exploded for a 62-yard rushing score on a bad snap on the Saints’ first play but the score was called back due a holding call.
Reynolds’ legs would keep the Adelanto offense alive and the Washington commit eventually worked his way into the end zone to cap off the season’s opening drive. The Saints would convert for two points to go up 8-0.
Adelanto didn’t showcase a true quarterback and had multiple players take snaps. All of them were athletic and only powered up the run game.
Castaic couldn’t recreate the rushing success of the first drive as the second drive ended with a Jaylen Mckenzie interception of Coyotes quarterback Dominic Espinoza.
The Coyotes got the spark they needed late in the second quarter after Brandon Marshall came up with a big interception on an Adelanto deep shot.
Castaic would only need two plays to find the end zone this time. Wide receiver Gage Gibson broke free off the line and Espinoza didn’t miss it. The two connected for the program’s first-ever touchdown with a 78-yard strike.
The Saints marched right back down the field but the Coyotes stood tall. Coyotes defensive lineman Cyrus Gradoville made contact with the Adelanto gunslinger just as he threw and defensive back Lucas Milan would come up with a huge pick in the end zone.
“Our defense played lights-out,” said Castaic head coach Anthony Uebelhardt. “I don’t know how many picks we had but the secondary played great.”
Castaic wouldn’t score with less than a minute left to go but went into the halftime break with every bit of momentum.
The Coyotes then ran a perfect onside kick. The kicker laid down a ball straight to the 50-yard line where wideout Davis Cruz was able to tip it to himself off a bounce.
“Every onside my coach puts me in hoping I can make a play and that’s what I did,” said Cruz. “We practice that play. I just went out there, tried my hardest and it worked that time.”
Cruz finished with four catches for 45 yards.
Ortiz would have another good drive running the ball but Castaic would again turn the ball over on downs.
Both teams looked promising early in their third-quarter drives but the teams exchanged punts for the only scoreless period of the night.
Parker put the finishing touches on Castaic in the fourth with a 20-yard rushing score as well as a 2-point conversion to go up 26-7.
“We didn’t match up with their speed very well,” said Uebelhardt. “That hurt us in the end.”
The Saints got plenty of free yards thanks to seven Castaic penalties.
Despite the loss the Coyotes had plenty of parts to build on for this season and the future.
Junior running back Manny Ortiz was a good plus for Castaic and picked up big yardage all night.
Ortiz finished the game with 11 carries for 52 yards.
Espinoza had a solid outing going 8-15 passing with 139 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The team knows what’s ahead of them and will look to put this loss behind them before next week.
The Coyotes will get their first taste of football on the road next week when the team heads to Simi Valley for a matchup with Royal.
“[Castaic football] is going to have to learn that this is a long season and this one loss doesn’t define us,” said Uebelhardt.