Defensive end Jake Wambaugh’s hit caused a fumble by a Santana High ball carrier just minutes into the Sept. 28 non-league home game. Teammate Sean Gardocki was able to scoop up the loose pigskin and return it 15 yards for the first six points in a 35-3 Pointer victory.
Wambaugh, a 6-foot-4-inch, 245-pound senior earned All-Western League first team honors last season as a tight end in addition to his defensive duties.
The win, the third straight for the Dogs, left them with a 3-2 record as they prepare for their first league game
The 7-0 score held until halftime after two Pointer touchdowns by the offense were called back because of holding and personal foul penalties behind the play and a fumble on the snap was lost at the Sultans’ one-yard line.
“Some kids got frustrated, and they’ve just got to control themselves,” said Pointer head coach Mike Hastings. “We had some inopportune penalties today and we were kind of sputtering. I thought our defense held up very nicely. Coach Dave Aros and his defensive staff again did some great preparation.”
The Pointers then awakened to post a 21-point third period to gain control of their Grossmont-Valley League opponents, who have only averaged 5.4 points per game in falling to an 0-5 record.
Pointer special teams opened the period with sophomore Jalen Griffin continuing his breakout season as he returned the second-half kickoff 99 yards to boost the lead to 14-0 before many in the crowd had settled back into their Pete Ross Stadium seats.
Another special-team play set up the Pointers’ first offensive touchdown of the game when defender Frankie Lopez broke through protection to block a punt on Santana’s first second-half possession.
Starting this drive from the Sultans’ 15-yard line, Gavin Grady lofted a 12-yard scoring pass to Wambaugh in the left corner of the end zone with 9:26 remaining in the period.
Just three minutes later, Griffin added his second touchdown of the quarter with a short run that capped the Dogs’ next possession.
In just six minutes of play, the Pointers turned a shaky 7-0 lead into a commanding 28-0 lead.
A 72-yard punt return by returning All-Western League second-teamer Dirk Lacy set up the final Pointer score in the fourth quarter.
Lacy, who is returning to full strength after missing the first three games this season with ankle injuries, showed fans what he can contribute as he darted away from tacklers and used his speed to outrun others on the return before finally being hauled down at the Sultans’ 10-yard line.
Two plays later, Lacy lowered his head and powered between two defenders for his second touchdown of the season.
The resulting 35-0 Pointer lead, with almost nine minutes remaining in the game, signaled game officials to use a running clock for the remainder of the contest.
The Sultans avoided the shutout when, with two seconds remaining in the game, they used the stadium’s prevailing westerly winds to help lift a 31-yard field goal as time expired.
“In the end, 35-3 is a great win and we’ll take it,” said Hastings. “Monday, we’ll come back and get better.”
Next up for the Dogs will be what promises to be a stiff test at Scripps Ranch on Oct. 4. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
After a couple down years, the Falcons have surged to a 3-1 record with victories over San Marcos, Morse and Bonita Vista. They will face the Pointers after a bye week of preparation.
Last year, the Pointers defeated the Falcons 24-3 at Pete Ross Stadium, as Scripps Ranch stumbled to a 2-8 record.
• Starting linebacker Tanner Manion returned to action against the Sultans but starting defenders A. J. Smith and Jake Virissimo were withheld.
• Prior to the game, every Pointer varsity player escorted a member of the school’s teaching staff across midfield as part of a Staff Appreciation Day event. Staff members were adorned in team jerseys bearing the same number as their escorting player.
• The junior varsity moved to 4-1 with its 35-13 victory while the freshman team dropped to 3-2 with a 19-8 loss — both against Santana.
• The Western League opener Oct. 11 against Kearny has been moved to Madison High School, kicking off at 6:30 p.m.