San Marcos football coach Jason Fowle let his team know what he thought of its performance on Friday night at home against Cabrillo.
“I’m so proud of you guys,” he barked out shortly after the final whistle. “You guys did everything we wanted you to do.”
And the Royals did it all in the first half of a 46-6 rout of the Conquistadores at Warkentin Stadium.
San Marcos, behind the running and passing of senior quarterback Ben Partee, and the hard-nosed ground attack of senior tailback Henry Hererra, scored all 46 of its points in the first two quarters. They scored on every drive except one. Herrera led the way with four touchdowns — three on the ground and one through the air. Partee was 6-for-8 passing for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He also added 55 yards on nine carries and ran for a touchdown before halftime.
“Some holes opened up for me when I was scrambling,” Partee said. “I do my best to stay in there and hang in the pocket, but it was just a little too open for me to not run tonight.
“I took advantage where I could.”
Herrera did his part in the first half with 74 yards on 13 carries to go along with his four touchdowns.
“The offensive line did an amazing job for us tonight,” Herrera said. “They were really opening a lot of holes.”
San Marcos (3-4, 1-1 Channel League) put the finishing touches on a dominant first half when it stopped Cabrillo on a fake punt at the Conquistadores’ 11-yard line with 1:06 remaining before the break.
It took the Royals all of one play to score their final touchdown when Partee found his favorite target, Josh Brown, on an out-route for a touchdown. Oddly enough, it was one of only two catches for the dangerous Brown.
The other came on a 21-yard completion in the third quarter during a drive that resulted in the Royals’ second and final punt of the game.
San Marcos’ win came after a disappointing loss to cross-town rival Santa Barbara the previous week.
“I think it was a good game,” Fowle said. “We needed that as a program, for sure. It’s been a tough week, physically, emotionally, mentally. These guys have gone through a lot in a week’s span.
“I think we grew up a lot this week as a program.”
Cabrillo had things going south from the opening kickoff, literally.
The Conquistadores tried an onside kick to open the game, but the Royals recovered it at their own 49. Seven plays later, they were in the end zone on a 14-yard run by Herrera. San Marcos led 8-0 after a successful two-point conversion.
The rout wasn’t quite on just yet, however, as Cabrillo answered with an eight-play drive that resulted in a one-yard quarterback sneak by Zack Ramos for a touchdown. The Conqs, though, failed with their two-point conversion attempt, and the Royals had the lead for good.
San Marcos’ next drive started at its own 33, which was the worst field position the Royals had to start a drive in the first half. Once again, it didn’t take Partee long to get his team back in the end zone. Following a three-yard run on first down by Herrera, Partee fired a bomb that was on target to senior wide receiver Jack Huffman that went for 57 yards. Huffman, who also played a solid game on defense, made a good catch with three defenders around him.
Herrera took over from there, scoring on an eight-yard run on the next play. San Marcos went for two again and had no problem converting when Herrera blasted right through the center of the line for a 16-6 lead.
“Henry’s our workhorse,” Partee said. “He’s the most reliable dude on our team. He’s a stud for us every game. Our offensive line also did a great job for us tonight, as well.
“They were going after their D-line all night, so you’ve got to give it up to those guys.”
Cabrillo (0-7, 0-2 Channel League) had drives of 12 plays and 16 plays in the second half, but failed to score on both.
San Marcos travels to Dos Pueblos next Friday, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.