Bishop Diego High’s homecoming had a deeper meaning for Matthew Bribiesca, who moved in with childhood friend Adrian Soracco when he got into high school.
“We’re like step-brothers,” he said
The two long-time friends supplied the firepower — one on defense, the other on offense — in the Cardinals’ 41-6 football victory over Thousand Oaks on Friday at SBCC’s La Playa Stadium.
“I’ve known him since I was eight, seven years old and living in Los Angeles,” Bribiesca said. “I wanted to come out tonight and just play with my boys that I’ve been playing with since I was young.”
Bribiesca’s three quarterback sacks and Soracco’s three rushing touchdowns powered Bishop (5-5, 2-2) to its second-straight win, giving it third place in the tough Camino League and a near-certain berth in next week’s CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs.
“I met him when he was six and we’ve been best friends ever since,” said Soracco, who rushed for 128 yards on 15 carries. “He’s lived with me for the past four years.
“We both played running back and linebacker — every time we shared it, and we do everything together. We play the same way. We’re just like the same people.”
Bishop’s defense, which held the Lancers to just 124 yards total offense, asserted itself right from the start. Logo Va’a recovered a fumble at the Thousand Oaks 28-yard line on just the third play of the game to set up Soracco’s first touchdown.
The senior running back scored two plays later on a 28-yard run, although it took him a few minutes to get up after getting tackled well beyond the goal line.
“I was six yards in the end zone and got my legs wrapped up and was like, ‘What’s happening?’” Soracco said. “He hit my head in the back when he slammed me.
“But I passed (the concussion protocol). I’m good.”
The Cardinals also scored on their second possession. Michael Luckhurst’s 29-yard pass to Luke Knightley set up a 12-yard scoring run by the Cardinals’ other quarterback, Jackson Haskell, with 6:10 still left in the first quarter.
“It felt like we had the ball in a lot of different guys’ hands, but certainly Adrian set the tone right at the outset of the game,” Cardinal coach Tom Crawford said.
Bishop’s running game picked up speed as the game continued. Marcus Chan added a 30-yard TD jaunt early in the second period and Soracco capped the first-half scoring with a five-yard run, giving the Cardinals a 27-0 lead.
Bishop got 205 of its 389 rushing yards in the first half. The Cardinals wound up out-gaining the Lancers in total yardage, 480-124.
The defeat was the 25th straight for Thousand Oaks (0-10, 0-4).
Soracco eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the third-straight game.
“We started the year kind of slow and had injuries on the offensive line,” Soracco said. “Now we have a lot of guys back and the offense is really rolling.
“We’ve got a great, great group of guys in the front and it’s a pleasure running behind them.”
Va’a and Bribiesca capped the first half with back-to-back sacks.
Bishop coach Tom Crawford noted that Bribiesca, who also batted down two passes, is one of the fastest players on his team.
“When he comes from that defensive end position, he’s a handful because he’s so quick and he’s relentless in the way he pursues,” he said. “They were trying to roll the quarterback out away from him quite a bit, and yet Matthew, because of his speed has the ability to run things down and make a lot of plays.”
Bishop got off to another quick start in the second half. Luckhurst’s 28-yard pass to Soracco got a first down at the 14. Bishop’s two quarterbacks completed 6-of-10 passes for 91 yards,
Luckhurst pitched to Soracco on the next play for his third TD of the game.
“Adrian did this last year, as well, when he got better as the season wore on, and became more physical as a runner as the season wore on,” Crawford said. “I felt like tonight he again showed his physicality.
“I think he had more space at the line of scrimmage to get to the second level and I thought he ran very, very hard.”
Thousand Oaks completed four of its next five passes to score its only TD midway through the third period. The big one was a 33-yarder from sophomore Charlie Spencer to Brady Sparks for a first down at the Bishop 9.
Three plays later, wildcat quarterback Nick Allois surprised the Cardinals by throwing a jump pass to Benjamin Rendon for a five-yard touchdown.
Knightley scored the Cardinals’ final TD on a 30-yard end-around on their final play of the third period.
Bishop will learn its CIF-SS playoff fate when the brackets are announced on Sunday.
“It’s go time,” Soracco said. “This is where we start it up. This is where all the dogs start playing.”