Carlsbad 35, El Camino 7
The Week 10 Avocado West League match-up between the Carlsbad Lancers (5-4, 2-2) and El Camino Wildcats (5-4, 1-2) had the makings for a competitive game.
Both teams were in the top-10 in this week’s San Diego Section power rankings — Carlsbad at No. 7 and El Camino at No. 10. In nearly every offensive category, the teams’ stats were comparable. But the Lancers controlled the game throughout, behind consistency from their best rusher and their quarterback, while the Wildcats simply fell flat and probably lost ground in their quest for a high seed in the Division 1 playoff bracket.
On Wednesday, Carlsbad Coach Thadd MacNeal indicated that he would look to establish his PPR Silver Pigskin watch-lister running back Dylan Rutledge early in the game.
“We’ve got to establish Dylan, and get him enough touches so he can make things happen,” MacNeal said.
But MacNeal added that it wouldn’t be a one-sided offensive approach for the Lancers. He also indicated that he would look to have his quarterback, Jackson Whitteker, spread passes to a receiver core that includes junior Kellen Peet and senior Chris Spiering.
Each of those three players mentioned made a difference Thursday night, but the Lancers struck first on a contribution from junior Lyath Haddad. After Carlsbad’s Cameron Chapman recovered a fumbled El Camino punt return in the first quarter, Carlsbad opened scoring on a 1-yard Haddad touchdown run. From there, the Lancers dominated, allowing little offensive momentum for the Wildcats until their final drive of the night, late in the fourth quarter under a running game clock.
Rutledge — who before Thursday’s opening kickoff had already amassed more than 1,000 rushing yards on the season — scored in the second quarter on his longest rush of the night, a 76-yard run that started as a pitch 5 yards deep in the backfield and finished with Rutledge fooling the Wildcat defense with a faked reverse hand-off, and a sprint down the perimeter to the end zone.
Still in the second quarter, after a 74-yard pass from Whitteker to Spiering, Rutledge would add to his stats a 2-yard reception for another touchdown and the 21-0 Lancer lead. Carlsbad held a lead as large as 35-0 by the end of the third quarter, contributed to by another touchdown pass for Whitteker — this time for 26 yards to Peet — and another rushing score from Rutledge.
El Camino managed its only touchdown in the latter half of the fourth quarter, on a 7-yard keeper for Wildcats quarterback Sergio Lopez.
In their final game of the regular season, the Wildcats will close out its match-ups against Avocado West teams when they host the league-leading Oceanside Pirates (8-0, 2-0) — who are due to play their ninth game of the season tonight — next Friday in Week 11. The Lancers — already locked in to a 2-2 league record for the season — will face a non-league opponent, the Ramona Bulldogs (7-2), in Week 11.