Buena High Coach Rick Scott has said his team is inexperienced and a year away from contending for the Channel League title, and the Bulldogs took a 41-20 beating by Westlake Friday night.
But neither Scott nor Westlake Coach Jim Benkert were singing the Bulldog blues afterward. After all, Westlake's explosive skill players provide the Warriors with an exceptional offensive attack, and Westlake is expected to score its share of points this season against anybody.
"We lost to a very good football team, so I'm not panicked," Scott said. "We just have a few little things to work on."
Benkert was also quick to credit Buena.
"They're going to beat a lot of teams this year," he said. "They knocked us around up front, and are a very good football team."
Westlake scored on its initial three drives and scored 28 points in the first half. The Warriors had 41 points entering the fourth quarter when Benkert cleared his bench.
Quarterback Todd Preston completed 10 of 21 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Junior receiver Erik Holcomb caught four passes for 103 yards and running back Rueben Allen added 120 yards rushing in 13 carries.
"Our entire offense played well," Benkert said. "Our game was clicking."
Westlake clicked from the opening kickoff, when Allen returned the kick 55 yards to Buena's 35. Holcomb scored on a reverse from three yards and added the conversion run to give Westlake an 8-0 lead.
Westlake extended its lead to 14-0 on Allen's 25-yard run. Westlake had advanced to the 25 on completions of 13, 12, and 17 yards, and Allen's run appeared to catch the Buena defense off guard.
Buena cut its deficit to 14-6 when Chuck Mullaney scored from three yards. But Westlake came back with yet another long kickoff return, this time Joe Maashoff on a 44-yard scamper to Buena's 29. One play later, Preston found Holcomb for a 29-yard touchdown, and Holcomb hit Seamus Gibbons for the conversion and a 22-6 Westlake lead.
"We work very hard at our kicking game, and it paid off," Benkert said.
Preston added a one-yard touchdown run on Westlake's next drive, which gave Westlake a 28-6 lead. The key play of the drive was a 31-yard completion from Preston to Gibbons on third and 20 at Buena's 20.
Buena scored with 32 seconds left in the half when Mullaney scored from two yards. Mullaney finished with 73 yards in 14 carries.