Patriots go ‘beast mode’ in season opener

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There was no fight, no pushing and no shoving after Christian senior punt returner Matt Armijo dove on a dropped punt and swallowed a late hit against El Capitan last Friday.

Instead of responding with closed fist, senior running back Alexander Gonzalez used his open hands to take a swing pass from senior quarterback Owen Easley 61 yards as time expired in the quarter, setting the Patriots up with first-and-goal on the Vaqueros’ 10-yard line.

There was no fight, no pushing and no shoving after Christian senior punt returner Matt Armijo dove on a dropped punt and swallowed a late hit against El Capitan last Friday.

Instead of responding with closed fist, senior running back Alexander Gonzalez used his open hands to take a swing pass from senior quarterback Owen Easley 61 yards as time expired in the quarter, setting the Patriots up with first-and-goal on the Vaqueros’ 10-yard line.

“That’s the whole part of the game,” Gonzalez said. “We try to get up early just so we gotta show people what we do and we don’t have to talk back because we’ve already proven what our team’s capable of.”

Senior running back Javier Jimenez scored a rushing touchdown on the next play, and Easley followed with the two-point conversion to put Christian ahead 20-0 in its eventual 41-6 victory.

Head coach Matt Oliver said the toughest part of coaching is teaching players to turn the other cheek.

“We want to be the more disciplined team, we want to play disciplined,” he said. “None of that stuff helps you, you end up with 15-yard penalties, you end up with stupid stuff. So we preach and preach it, but it’s an emotional football game.”

Christian’s offense needed some luck to get going. The Patriots punted twice on their opening possession, and both times they recovered a muffed return.

El Capitan’s defense appeared to stop Christian a third time, but a pass interference penalty gave the Patriots first-and-goal from the 8-yard line. Senior tight end Bryce Riepl ran a sweep around the left end of the line for the 6-0 lead with 6:24 left in the first.

Oliver said he has not seen a similar sequence in his 19 years of coaching.

“We pretty much ate the whole football field up without doing anything and then punched it in,” he said. “After that, though, I think we got our legs under us.”

Easley scored two rushing touchdowns while racking up 142 passing yards on just 11 completions, including six passes to Gonzalez for 90 yards.

Jimenez led the Patriots with 91 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns

“[I’m] just trying not to go down,” Jimenez said. “I mean, go beast mode, go Marshawn Lynch. Get as many yards as I can until I’m knocked down to the floor.”

El Capitan did not score until the third quarter. Trailing 33-0, senior slotback Yaphet Yorkley caught a screen pass from junior quarterback Wick Hauser and scored a 56-yard touchdown.

Again, Gonzalez responded on the next play.. He fielded the kickoff on the right side of the field at Christian’s 12-yard line and found a lane in the coverage. He worked his way back to the left hashmark and shook off a face mask penalty at midfield to score an 88-yard touchdown. The Patriots led 41-6 after the two-point conversion with 1:50 left in the third.

“I’m competing for the kick return record for our team this year,” Gonzalez said. “So that’s one down, I’ve got four more to go. Let’s see what happens.”

El Capitan looks to bounce back against Mater Dei on Friday, while Christian travels to the Bay Area to play King’s Academy.

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