Westminster High School clinched a berth in the Southern Section Big Five playoffs Thursday with a 26-3 victory over Ocean View High School in a Sunset League football game played at Westminster High in front of 2,500.
Westminster (6-4 overall, 3-2 in league play) was impressive on offense and defense.
The Lions piled up 296 yards in total offense and controlled most of the game with a solid rushing attack. The defense allowed 109 yards and 31 in the second half.
Dax Hammers led all rushers with 91 yards in 19 carries and scored a touchdown for Westminster, which had 209 yards on the ground. Teammate Brian O'Hara had 87 yards in 20 carries.
"We went to two tight ends most of the time, and that's something we haven't shown all season," said Stan Clark, Westminster co-coach. "That helped us move the ball better on the ground, but we still had a wide guy if we wanted to throw."
The wide guy Westminster used was receiver Ben Mendoza. He caught two passes, both for touchdowns, for a total of 58 yards.
Mendoza made a leaping catch in the right-front corner of the end zone of a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bill Elliott with 5:25 left in the third quarter. The score gave Westminster a 13-3 lead.
Elliott and Mendoza had paired up on a 28-yard pass for a touchdown with 6:27 left in the first quarter to give Westminster a 7-0 lead. The play completed an 11-play, 66-yard drive.
Elliott was 4 of 8 for 87 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 12 yards in 2 carries and wasn't sacked.
Ocean View (4-6, 2-3), which could have made the playoffs for the first time in the school's nine-year history if it had won, came right back in the first quarter with a 59-yard drive but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal from Matt Beltram, and trailed, 7-3, with 1:29 left.
Hammers scored on a one-yard run with 1:27 left in the third quarter to give Westminster a 20-3 lead.
Troy Rossean kicked field goals of 36 and 41 yards in the fourth quarter for Westminster, which made the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
Ocean View showed little offense in the second half, getting only 31 yards, all of it the ground, and not getting past midfield.
Ocean View quarterback Vic Gutierrez was 1 for 10 for 17 yards and missed his last 9 attempts.
"We told the players at the start of the season that they would be playing for a chance at the playoffs in this game," said Guy Carrozzo, Ocean View Coach. "We just came up a game short."