MONTEREY – No question of not having a season last year and missing 18 months because of the pandemic has been a setback, especially for a program built around his youth.
Yet after five weeks repeating the same mistakes isn’t a valid excuse for Monterey when aspirations must reach the top.
A lack of discipline and a lack of execution in crucial moments caught up with the Toreadores on Friday. He left a stain in a 42-13 humility by undefeated Santa Cruz at Monterey Peninsula College.
“I know that a lot,” said Monterey coach Henry Lusk. “We’re going to sit down and analyze where we are. We will tell the backups to prepare. There are going to be changes. ”
Presented as an unbeaten battle, this is where the similarities ended as the Toreadores were not on the same level as Santa Cruz.
The Cardinals, defending Central Coast Division V champions, have been on a mission this year, having beaten four opponents 160-29 to 4-0.
“We earned it,” Lusk said. “Our heads weren’t in the game. What burns me the most is when I see a lack of focus. This is unacceptable. Do you want to be part of it or not?
Whether it was missed assignments, a bad route or a player in the wrong position, little has happened for the Toreadores, who have also been guilty of over 100 yards in penalties – including two unsportsmanlike.
Two picks six represented touchdowns for Santa Cruz, while a blocked punt resulted in a touchdown.
“We took the wrong routes on both interceptions,” Lusk said.
Before Monterey could recover, he was down 24 points at the start of the second quarter.
“I don’t have an explanation as to why,” Lusk said. “We have kids who put everything in place until the end and others who just didn’t seem focused. I have to rethink the way we do things.
Equally frustrating for Lusk is that Monterey couldn’t take advantage of a Cardinal’s offense missing a valuable piece as half-back Qwentin Brown was limited with a leg injury.
Average over 110 yards per game this fall, the 195-pound Brown, who came in with six touchdowns, was used more as a lure in the backfield, getting just a handful of carries.
Despite his absence, Santa Cruz still tied his season high in points, as quarterback Josh Bendix torched the defense, hitting Kaleb Womack on a 78-yard touchdown pass in his first offensive streak. Match.
“I promise we go over homework so many times that they should know about it in their sleep,” Lusk said. “There’s no excuse for letting a guy open this. It’s just a lack of focus.
Despite everything that went wrong for Monterey in the first half, Jkai Thomas gave them a lifeline in the second quarter when he pulled the ball out on a tackle from a punt return and traveled 34 yards. for a touchdown.
If that wasn’t enough to build momentum, Thomas was again at the end of the first half, taking a short pass from Michael Gallagher and turning it into a 99-yard touchdown reception.
“I told them in the locker room at half-time that the outcome of this game depends on how much effort you leave on the pitch,” Lusk said. “We are back in this game. It’s time to get up.
Accept the mistakes that continued to haunt them. An unsportsmanlike penalty on the Monterey sidelines when Thomas touched down pushed the kick off 15 yards to start the second half.
Side cautions have occurred in all four of the Toreadores’ games this season.
“We put the defense in a bad spot to start the second half with a short field,” said Lusk, whose defense, anchored by Thomas, Tayvaun Gilliam, Nathan Cruz and Sam Faavesi, allowed just two. affected.
The result was just a field goal. But Santa Cruz chewed nearly half the quarterback in his first practice. A fourth turnover by the Toreadores on their first possession resulted in a six pick.
Of the four turnovers made by Monterey, the Cardinals turned them into two touchdowns and a field goal. Add the blocked punt for six and that’s 27 points.
“We’re going to start from zero on Monday,” Lusk said. “We’re going back to basics and fine-tuning this thing. I need to know who is in it and who is not.