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Czernek Takes a Shortcut

Football: Buena plays deep so he uses quick passes to give Newbury Park 27-7 victory.


NEWBURY PARK — Nick Czernek wasn't greedy. He was smart.

When the Newbury Park High quarterback saw Buena defenders were playing off his receivers, he threw short and often.

That was all the Panthers needed to remain undefeated with a 27-7 victory over the Bulldogs on Friday night at Newbury Park.

"They wouldn't cover the short stuff," Czernek said. "So we took what we could get."

That amounted to numerous quick slants and flanker screens. Czernek completed 24 of 40 passes for 344 yards and one touchdown. Jake Farrel caught nine passes for 149 yards.

"They were giving me a 10-yard cushion," Farrel said, almost apologetically after the game.

Buena's Kyle Loughman played like the sophomore he is. Loughman completed six of 25 passes for 92 yards and one touchdown. He had three passes intercepted.

Loughman repeatedly missed open receivers.

"He knows it," Buena Coach Rick Scott said. "And he feels bad."

Buena (2-1) came into the game expecting to give up the short pass. The Bulldogs scored upsets the previous two weeks with a defense that refused to surrender big plays.

But they also benefited from a grinding offense led by running back Aaron Kleefisch. Newbury Park (3-0) took the Bulldogs out of their game plan by building an early lead.

The Panthers drove 73 yards on their first possession and Russell Thomas made a diving, juggling catch of Czernek's pass for a 14-yard touchdown.

Early in the second quarter, Thomas made a similar reception at the Buena one-yard line. Manny Apodaca dove over for a 14-0 halftime lead.

Buena's defense tried to keep the game within reach. In the third quarter, defensive back Albert DeLaRocha grabbed his third interception of the game deep in Newbury Park territory.

Loughman then threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to David McAlpine to close the gap to 14-7.

But Czernek and the Panthers answered by scoring on two of their next three possessions on runs of 24 and three yards by Ryan Shipton.

The defense took over from there, intercepting three of Loughman's final four passes, two by James Bailey.

Kleefisch wound up with 88 yards in 18 carries but was never a factor.

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