With the exception of some crazy plays, the Dos Palos Broncos opened West Sierra League play with a convincing 42-27 victory over the Avenal Buccaneers.
“This was a good Avenal team,” said head coach Rob Calvert. “They would come up and hit you.”
The “crazy” part occurred when Avenal scored three unconventional touchdowns, two on “scoop and score” fumble recoveries and a blocked field goal.
“They couldn’t stop our offense,” commented Calvert. “Those three scores by Avenal made the game a lot closer than it really was.”
In raising their season record to 2-4, Calvert said personnel changes on both offense and defense have led to the improvement.
“Our offensive line has improved tremendously,” said Calvert. “We also made some changes at linebacker and went with more speed. We are still pretty young, but guys are getting good experience and figuring things out.”
The Bucs scored early on the first crazy play, when pressure led to the ball on the ground that was scooped up and returned 59 yards for a touchdown.
The Broncos responded with an impressive drive, mixing passing and runs before Drake Hennagan evened the score on a three- yard run.
Dos Palos got a turnover of their own on Avenal’s next possession when a punt was blocked and recovered deep in Bucs territory. Quarterback Peyton Van Worth called his own number and scored from one yard out.
With the score 14-7, Dos Palos added to its lead with two touchdown passes. Wide receiver Sixto Ibarra caught a 28-yard score and then followed it up with a 57-yard touchdown pass, both from Van Worth.
The Bucs brought the game closer just before halftime with a drive that culminated in a nine-yard TD pass.
In the third quarter with Dos Palos leading 28-14, Avenal grabbed another Dos Palos fumble and rambled in for another touchdown.
The Broncos, with their lead cut to 28-21, went on a pair of long and impressive drives to put the game away. Van Worth scored twice on runs of seven yards and one yard.
As was fitting, Avenal scored the game’s final touchdown on a blocked field goal that was retrieved and taken into the endzone.
Van Worth, a junior, finished with 128 yards passing and two touchdown passes. Hennagan added 65 yards rushing on 16 carries.
The Broncos should face a tougher test this Friday when they host Mendota. Last Friday, the Aztecs defeated Tranquillity 41-14.
“This is going to be a good game,” said Calvert. “Mendota has a strong offensive line, a pretty good running back and a third-year quarterback in Juan Ceja.