Hart High--once again ignoring the adage that there must be a contest before a conquest--destroyed Arroyo Grande, 38-0, in the first round of the Northwestern Conference playoffs on a cold, windy Friday night at College of the Canyons.
Arroyo Grande, which finished third in the Northern League, ended the season--painfully-- with a 6-5 record.
Hart, champion of the Foothill League after outscoring five opponents, 212-68, continues the season with a 10-1 record. In the quarterfinals next week, Hart plays Verbum Dei, a 30-6 winner over Leuzinger on Friday.
"Playing a third-place team, it's hard to gauge what they can do," Hart Coach Rick Scott said. "You can't tell how fast they are, how strong they are, how good they are. We just have to adjust."
It didn't take long in this one.
In a sloppily played first half, Hart's special teams set up 10 points.
On the game's first series, Jeff Trogan blocked a Shawn Brown punt and recovered the ball on Arroyo Grande's 32-yard line.
Five plays later, Jim Harper, behind a strong wind, kicked a 51-yard field goal, his longest of the season.
Brown was forced to punt on the Eagles' next possession, too. This time, he got the kick away--but it traveled only five yards into the wind.
Hart quarterback Jim Bonds then completed a one-yard pass and ran 14 yards on a draw before fullback Andy Iacenda ran off tackle for a 25-yard touchdown with 2:22 left in the first quarter to give the Indians a 14-0 lead.
Arroyo Grande, which failed to take advantage of 70 yards in Hart penalties in the first half, including two personal fouls, blew its only real scoring opportunity when Scott Holden blocked Brown's 35-yard field-goal attempt with 7:54 left in the half.
Hart also struggled offensively in the first half. Bonds completed only two of seven passes for eight yards and the running game netted but 89 yards.
The second half was a lot different.
On the first play of the third period, Iacenda broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and was off on a 67-yard touchdown run.
On the next drive, Iacenda caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Bonds, who improved in the second half to complete half of his 20 passes for 125 yards.
"I feel great," said Iacenda, who scored his fourth and final touchdown on a 23-yard run and finished with 135 yards on six carries. "I have been waiting to have a game like this."
Hart's defense has had plenty of games like this in the 1986 season. Against Arroyo Grande, the Indians intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble and limited the Eagle offense to 103 net yards.
"Except for the penalties (14 for 120), I'm happy," Scott said. "If we don't beat ourselves, it's going to be hard to beat us.
"We've been dominating teams, wearing them down. Our offense is moving the ball and our defense needs a couple of weeks to practice, and we'll be right there."
Right in the Northwestern Conference title game.