HESPERIA Tracy Venable and the Barstow High School football team each had new experiences on Friday.


The Aztecs beat Sultana 20-15 for their first victory of the 2010 season. Barstow had dropped its first four games of the season, but head coach Jose Rubio said he expected a better game after a bye last week.


"It feels good," Rubio said. "It's nice to see the offense moving the ball down the field and to be on the other side after the game."


A large portion of the Aztecs' success and yardage on Friday came from Venable. He ran 31 times for 124 of Barstow's 144 rushing yards and 236 yards of total offense against the Sultans. Venable's strong performance on Friday came in his first game as the main running back for the Aztecs.


He only had two carries for 10 yards in Barstow's previous four games.


"We're looking for (Venable) to make some plays for us," Rubio said. "He had a great game today. We're moving Ricky Burns and using him as a secondary back. We are going to try and throw to him more often. He has good hands and has made some good catches for us."


Although Venable and the Aztecs got their running game going during the game, they struggled on their opening drive of the game. Sultana quarterback Brandon Rios threw an interception to Steven Deverell on the opening play of the game, giving Barstow the ball on the 30-yard line, but after two rushes by Venable and two incomplete passes by Deverell the Aztecs turned the ball over on downs.


Barstow got its offense started at the end of the first quarter and drove the ball 74 yards for a touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Deverell. However, Sultana's Joe Maynes ran 57-yards to set up a 21-yard field goal by Josh Eng, and the teams went into halftime with Barstow leading 6-3.


Sultana's offense had problems in the first half and only produced 24 yards aside from Maynes' 57-yard run. Rios and Andrew Robbins had no completions on five attempts in the first half. Rios turned that around in the second half and threw for 59 yards and one touchdown.


"We were trying to run the ball in the first half, but they were stacking the box," Sultana coach Blake Robbins said. "We just couldn't get anything going on offense."


The Aztecs controlled most of the second half and led 20-3 with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter after a 52-yard punt return by Jorge Benavidez. Sultana's Joe Vega nearly returned the favor on the kickoff, but he was tackled at the 14-yard line for a 61-yard return. Vega's return set up an eventual 1-yard touchdown run by Rios, closing the gap to 20-15 with five minutes left to play.


Barstow's offense struggled with penalties in the fourth quarter. They had 45 yards in penalties including six false starts.


"Penalties kept us from really separating from them," Rubio said. "We'll watch the film and see what we need to work on. The referees weren't really telling us who was jumping. It's all stuff we can fix."


Sultana was also unable to gain any ground on the final drives of the game, and the Sultans ended up with the ball in the final minute. They ran six plays in the final 42 seconds of the game, but were unable to get the ball past their own 35-yard line.