La Jolla High School Football: Vikings amp up spread offense, but need stops on defense

FOOTBALL: Santa Fe Christian 66, La Jolla Vikings 34

By Ed Piper

Jason Carter and his merry band of coaches in the “new” era of La Jolla High football have their chargers putting up points in the spread offense at an unprecedented rate. Opponents are seen gasping for air after repeated, bang-bang plays as the Vikings come to the line of scrimmage without a huddle.

The red and black racked up 31 first downs in the first half alone Friday night against visiting Santa Fe Christian, and junior quarterback Collin Rugg completed 31 of 45 passes for 353 yards.

The only problem is that La Jolla opponents, meanwhile, are piling up points at an even faster clip.

Take, for example, the first 1:42 of the contest at Edwards Field before a good home crowd the fourth week of the season. Rugg engineered a crisp drive downfield to register the Vikings’ first touchdown in one minute and 30 seconds following the opening kickoff from the Eagles.

He led with an 11-yard pass completion to senior wide receiver Nic Skala for a first down. Then senior Carlton O’Neal was the beneficiary of another 11-yard connection.

Following losses on a penalty and run, the quarterback teamed up with junior Brandon Bonham for a 50-yard air strike, landing on Santa Fe Christian’s 21-yard line. From there it was a simple pass to Bonham again for the touchdown, and La Jolla was suddenly up 7-0 — with 10:30 showing on the scoreboard clock. Unfortunately, on the very next play, the Eagles’ Tony Miro took sophomore Trenton Fudge’s kick all the way back to the house. The clock had only advanced 12 seconds. And the moments-ago delirious La Jolla crowd looked a little bewildered. It was 7-7.

The Vike defense, unfortunately matching the offense’s high numbers with upper digits of their own, gave up 45 more points before the first half was done. The grid opponents went into the locker room at halftime with the score Santa Fe Christian 52, La Jolla 27. The visitors went on to complete a 66-34 thrashing of the hopeful Vikes, evening their own record at 2-2, dropping La Jolla to 1-3.

Certainly, past seasons’ numbers like these from the La Jolla offense against stronger teams have not been seen. Bonham totaled 65 yards on four receptions. Reid Martin grabbed five catches for 51 yards. O’Neal had three receptions for 54 yards. Eric Tims grabbed eight passes for 48 yards. Therewere eye-popping stats all around, leaving Coach Carter, drained following the nearly three-hour contest, muttering, “We made 60 plays in the first half.” But: “We got our butts kicked. Santa Fe is a good team.”

His players, along with those in the crowd who remained after the contest ended just shy of 10 p.m., sauntered from the field, quietly. Some players approached coaches after a stern post-game message offering apologies or promises to do better.

La Jolla’s defense sometimes seemed to get lost in their zones and miss coverages. Demarco Bland, Ian Beed and Anthony Stanley ended up in one reporter’s notepad frequently for making stops. Said the compact Bland, a safety: “We’re thinking too much. We could have done better on our (pass) coverage.”

On the other side of the ball, 5-10 running back Reid Martin was a workhorse, carrying the ball 20 times for 120 yards. Eric Tims rushed eight times for 37 yards.

La Jolla High Homecoming Game

■ Watch the Vikings trounce the Coronado Islanders at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 at Gene Edwards Stadium, 750 Nautilus St., La Jolla