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Thousand Oaks Can't Pass Arroyo Grande

Division IV: Olson throws for 480 yards, but Lancers' furious fourth-quarter rally falls short, 38-36.


THOUSAND OAKS — The game was a microcosm of Thousand Oaks High's season.

Dig an enormous hole, then claw back through sheer determination--and the lethal left arm of quarterback Ben Olson.

This time, Arroyo Grande wouldn't let the Lancers dig all the way out. Despite scoring two touchdowns in the last minute, Thousand Oaks fell, 38-36, Friday night in the first round of the Southern Section Division IV playoffs.

The Lancers (5-6) opened the season with five losses; they opened the game by falling behind, 21-0.

They rallied to a second-place finish in the Marmonte League by winning their last five games; they rallied to even the score, 21-21, midway through the third quarter.

But Arroyo Grande's slick misdirection wing-T offense was too powerful, gaining 480 yards on the ground. The Eagles scored a touchdown late in the third quarter and another early in the fourth, then added a field goal with 5:56 to play for a seemingly comfortable 38-21 lead.

Then it was Thousand Oaks' turn to come back.

Olson passed for a career-high 480 yards, completing 26 of 45 passes. He connected with Jesse Ainsworth for a 25-yard touchdown with 59.9 seconds to play and passed to Dave Anderson for a two-point conversion.

Thousand Oaks recovered an onside kick and Olson completed three passes in a row, the last a six-yard touchdown to Anderson to pull the Lancers to within 38-36 with 24.5 seconds left.

Another onside kick was nearly recovered by Thousand Oaks, but a mad scramble resulted in Arroyo Grande taking possession and running out the clock.

"Our kids fought hard," Thousand Oaks Coach Mike Sanders said. "Our offensive line was overmatched, but we battled and did a good job."

Thousand Oaks had minus-18 yards rushing because Olson was sacked eight times.

By the second quarter, Thousand Oaks began throwing screen passes to slow the rush. Three screens to tailback Tony Ferrera keyed an 80-yard scoring drive capped by a six-yard touchdown pass to Anderson, who had 10 catches for 188 yards.

With 57 seconds to play in the first half, Olson showed his quick-strike ability by moving the Lancers 72 yards for a touchdown in 23 seconds. He hit Brian Hoover with a 16-yard pass for the score to cut the deficit to 21-13.

Sanders, whose Lancers improved steadily in his first season, will have Olson and Anderson back next season.

"We have a bright future," he said.

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