Like many first-round Southern Section playoff games, Friday's between Thousand Oaks and Glendale ended with a lopsided score. The Lancers beat Glendale, 35-8, at Thousand Oaks in front of a crowd of 1,800.
But the win means more to the Lancers than advancing in the Coastal Conference playoffs.
The win also means a rematch with Canyon, which handed Thousand Oaks (10-1) its only loss earlier this season in a nonleague game. Also on Friday, Canyon beat Dos Pueblos, 48-6.
"I think we are reaching our peak," said two-way starting tackle Mike Yasenchok, who spearheaded a defense that held the Dynamiters to 25 yards in total offense in the first three periods. Yasenchok downed Glendale quarterback Jim Godoy for a safety in the third quarter.
"When we first played Canyon, we did not play very well. I think everyone has now reached their potential and we are ready for them."
The Thousand Oaks offense will have something top do with that, too. Running backs Mike Moore and Marc Monestime, two of the finest in the Marmonte League this season, again had stellar performances.
Moore rushed 13 times for 73 yards and three touchdowns, his first a nine-yard jaunt that gave the Lancers a 6-0 lead only four minutes into the game. Four minutes later, Moore scored again, this time from three yards.
Monestime, last season's most valuable player in the Marmonte as a sophomore, rushed 18 times for 101 yards. Quarterback Robb McKinnon completed 4 of 11 passes for 58 yards for Thousand Oaks, which has a tendency to run the ball more than it passes.
"We knew that Glendale's game plan all season was to try and score early and let their defense do the rest," McKinnon said. "But we went out there and racked up some points and our defense played excellent."
McKinnon, a senior, did not play against Canyon in the first game because he had an injured shoulder.
"I'm ready for them now," he said.
Things looked bleak early for Glendale, which went into the game as the conference's at-large team. After the opening kickoff, Godoy fumbled on the Dynamiters' second play. Lancer linebacker Gus Nelinger recovered at the Glendale 33, and Moore scored the game's first touchdown six plays later.
"We needed a big win tonight," Nelinger said. "And we got it. We played real Lancer football. Bring on the Cowboys."
Leading 14-0 at the start of the third period, Thousand Oaks came back out and didn't let up. On its first possession, Thousand Oaks drove 83 yards on 10 plays for its third touchdown. On the drive, the Lancers faced a fourth-and-eight on the Glendale 33. McKinnon connected with Jason Schlimgen on a 17-yard pass. A play later, Lance Alverson took a Monestime handoff on a reverse and dashed 14 yards for a touchdown.
Glendale (5-6) scored its only touchdown late in the game against Thousand Oaks' second-string defense. Alan Valdez ran around right end and galloped 58 yards for the score. Godoy ran in the conversion.
By then, though Lancer fans were already chanting, "Bring on Canyon!"