The Orestimba Warriors fell 61-35, in Waterford against the host Wildcats (8-0 overall; 5-0 SAL) after having some struggles on the offense, defense and also special teams that lead to their tough loss.
“Looking back at this game, we had some struggles in all these areas and if you take out the minor set backs we are right there competing with this team that is leading the league,” said head coach Aaron Souza.
The Warriors (4-4 overall; 2-3 SAL) who finished with 400 yards of offense (247 passing and 153 rushing) performed extremely well but just were unable to get it into the endzone when needed. Add that to the defense letting up 565 yards total on big plays, along with a big 81-yard play on a kick off return form the Wildcats and it tallies up to a tough loss.
As for quarterback Vicente Lopez, he had a bit of a quiet game in the rushing category (9 carries for 54 yards) and resorted to his passing game, where he completed 8 of 21 passes for 202 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
“They (Wildcats) were ready for that game and it really showed and emphasized on why they are the 5-0 team they are,” Souza said. “From their big plays to them getting us to send the ball through the air, they made us work.”
In the first half of the game the Warriors were able to connect on three touchdowns while the Wildcats connected on five. The first score for the Warriors came from a Lazs King (14 carries for 67 yard, 2 TD) nine yard carry to put Orestimba up early, 7-0. The Wildcats would answer with two scores of their own midway through the first. The Warriors second score came when Lopez hit Julian Perez on a huge 64-yard passing play, putting them up 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter the Wildcats would score three times — two from passing plays and one from a huge 81-yard kickoff return. The Warriors would answer with a score of their own when they marched down the field to line up Devin Bettencourt to put the ball into the endzone on a one yard rushing touchdown. The Wildcats had a 34-21 lead at the end of the half.
“We left a few offensive possessions scoreless, or we couldn’t convert on third or fourth down and that hurt us,” Souza said. “While looking back at our defense and special teams we had great effort, we just missed assignments and let up three to four big plays.”
Coming back from the break the Warriors would only score two more times compared to the Wildcats four other touchdowns. Orestimba’s first score of the second half would come in the third quarter when King was set up perfectly once again to punch it into the endzone on a four yard carry for his second touchdown of the night.
The Warriors last scoring drive would come midway through the fourth quarter when Lopez would send it through the air 53 yards to veteran receiver Jayden Vargas connecting for the touchdown. But this wasn’t enough against the Southern League leaders as they would come away with the 61-35 win.
“This wasn’t one of our best games, but it was definitely a learning experience in this process,” said Souza. “Our effort was there and great, but just not enough compared to our mistakes.”
Vargas (6 catches, 163 yards, 1 TD), Perez (2 catches, 75 yards, 1 TD), and Bettencourt (2 carries for 1 yard, 1 TD) were other key contributors for the offenses.
While for the defense Kai Brazil led the way with seven tackles total. Adrian Reyes trailed behind him with five, Joseph Flores added three tackles and two tackle for losses, as Rafael Gonzalez, Drake Perez, and Pedro Barajas chipped in two tackles each.
Coming up in week nine the Warriors will face off against the Denair Coyotes (0-6 overall; 0-4 SAL) for their homecoming match up as well as senior night. Game time will begin at 7:15 p.m.
“Coming to this game we need to stay focused and ready especially with the celebration of homecoming and celebrating each of the seniors; we can’t come out flat because despite their record they are looking for that first win,” said Souza. “Overall I know the community is going to spread a lot of positive energy through that stadium and it’s going to be exciting for everyone, so we need to make this a great week and get this win.”