Santa Ynez High’s Logan Ast spent three quarters softening up the defending Channel League football champion.
In the fourth quarter, he went for the kill.
The Pirate running back scored the last three of his four touchdowns in the final period to finish off visiting Santa Barbara High, 46-28, on Friday night.
“We just wore them out,” Ast said.
The workhouse running back gained 251 yards total —124 on 25 rushing attempts and 127 more on seven pass receptions.
Pirate quarterback Ben Redell held his own with Wisconsin-bound Don Deacon Hill, completing 17 of 29 passes for 218 yards.
“We’ve got a great quarterback,” Ast said. “He’s a great friend of mine. He had a great game and I don’t expect anything less from him.
“He’s an underdog and that’s how he plays.”
The Dons, who had last week’s season opener at San Marcos canceled by a positive COVID-19 test in the Royals’ program, struggled to connect in their passing game during the first half. They completed just five of their first 21 attempts.
“We had some dropped balls and we just did not play well,” coach J.T. Stone said. “I’m upset, but I’m not too upset because I know that’s not our brand of football that we played tonight.
“My hat is off to Santa Ynez. Coach (Josh) McClurg. They do a good job with the 30 kids they have.”
Hill rallied Santa Barbara with three touchdown passes, finishing with 15 completions in 38 attempts for 270 yards. He also ran for a two-yard score.
Santa Ynez, which lost last week’s opener to Lompoc, struck first in Friday’s game by marching 63 yards on nine plays at the end of the first quarter.
Ast took a 17-yard pass from Redell to midfield. Six plays later, on fourth and two from the 28, he burst through a hole on the left side of the line and beat the Dons’ secondary to the left goal-line flag for a touchdown.
“We came out with a different intensity tonight and showed it on the field,” He said.
Santa Barbara answered on the next play when Hill spotted Jake Knecht in one-on-one coverage and hit the Dons’ sprint champion in stride for a 65-yard touchdown. Ty Montgomery’s kick gave Santa Barbara a 7-6 lead.
Knecht, who has committed to play at UC Davis next year, was injured at the end of the play and did not return.
“Even if we had Jake in there, with the mistakes we were making it just wasn’t our night,” Stone said.
The Pirates took the lead back midway through the second quarter after Mikey Gills blocked a Dons’ punt. They took possession at the Santa Barbara 30. Redell hit Cam Pendergrast for a 19-yard gain to the 10, and they connected again for the touchdown three plays later on a 5-yard pass.
Santa Ynez put together its longest drive of the night late in the period — a 13-play, 78-yard march — to extend its lead to 19-7. Redell scrambled away from a strong rush and threw a 16-yard pass up for grabs in the end zone. The ball was tipped by a Santa Barbara defender but the Pirates’ Tyler Gregg came down with it to give them a 19-7 lead with just 62 seconds left in the half.
That was enough time, however, for Hill to strike back with three big pass plays. The final one went 17 yards for the first of his two TDs to Miguel Unzueta, trimming the Dons’ deficit to 19-14 with just 18.3 seconds left in the half.
The Pirates charged right back after halftime with a 42-yard pass from Redell to Ast on the first play of the third quarter.
“No. 24 (Ast) was the best player on the field tonight, and for some reason we didn’t know that,” Stone said. “I don’t understand that.”
Redell got a first down on a 12-yard run to the six. After a four-yard loss, he threw a nine-yard TD pass to Cam Pendergrast.
Hill got Santa Barbara back in the game with a 42-yard pass to Anthony Loza. It set up his two-yard quarterback keeper to bring the Dons to within 25-21 with 2:26 left in the third period.
But it fell apart from there with a pair of turnovers — an interception by Deklan Pollenz and a fumble recovery by Cash McClurg — set the stage for Ast’s big finish.
BISHOP DIEGO 42, CAMARILLO 7
Marcus Chan rushed for four touchdowns in the first half as the Cardinals romped to their victory at SBCC’s La Playa Stadium.
Chan, who ran for the game-winning TD in last week’s opener against St. Bonaventure, gained 126 of the Cardinals’ 214 rushing yards.
The Cardinals, who punted only once, blocked two Scorpion punts in the first half while taking a 28-0 lead. They held Camarillo to 222 total yards.
LOMPOC 62, DOS PUEBLOS 6
The Braves scored four first quarter touchdowns in their win over the Chargers on Friday night at Scott O’Leary Stadium.
Lompoc quarterback Cavin Ross threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Deville Dickerson to open the scoring. Sheldon Canley scored on runs of two, 49 and three yards in the first half, while Dickerson added a 57-yard punt return for a score.
Dos Pueblos’ Josiah Severson scored on an eight-yard touchdown run with five minutes left in the first half.
Lompoc’s Gavin Townes, Anthony Alonzo and Santana Centino added second-half touchdowns.
NORDHOFF 48, CARPINTERIA 14
Nordhoff scored four times in the opening quarter in its win over Carpinteria on Friday.
Nordhoff led 43 at the half and at one point was ahead 48-0.
Carpinteria scored two touchdowns late. Esteban DeSantiago had 10 carries for 67 yards and Diego Mendez threw one TD and added a rushing score.
SAN MARCOS 9, CABRILLO 7
A San Marcos field goal with just under five minutes to play proved to be the difference maker for the Royals on Friday night at Warkentin Stadium.
Cabrillo missed a game-winning field goal attempt in the final seconds.
Both teams were sidelined last week due to COVID-19 concerns. Official stats were not available.
News-Press Associate Editor Mitchell White contributed to this report.