Aztecs over .500 on gridiron
YUCCA VALLEY • “Instead of taking field goals, we were scoring touchdowns.”
That’s the way Barstow football head coach Mike Esposito summed up his team’s offense, as the Aztecs bounced back from last week’s loss to take a 38-9 victory over Yucca Valley on the road Friday night.
That offense was clicking from the start, with the Aztecs putting points on the board in every quarter. After scoring his team’s lone touchdown last week, James Noble was back in fine form. Sharing time at quarterback with Kyle Reeves, Noble got Barstow’s first three scores, finding the end zone once in each of the first three quarters. In addition to the three TDs, Noble finished with 285 yards rushing.
Sultan Hamdan was once again reliable, kicking four extra points and a 37-yard field goal.
“We were pretty consistent all night,” said Esposito. “Last week we played a very good team (Antelope Valley, a 21-9 loss) and made too many mental errors. This week we executed the game plan and cut down on the errors.”
The final quarter belonged to David Green, who scored twice. Green had 117 yards rushing, while the Aztecs as a team had a total of 411. Barstow made 87 tackles, led by Domenic Silva’s nine.
With Noble and Reeves at quarterback, it was the third game the Aztecs have been without their starter at that position. Tracy Venable suffered a shin injury on the third play of the season’s very first game, and has been out ever since. Esposito wants to be sure he’s 100 percent before he steps back on the field.
“We’re a better team with him, but I don’t want to rush him back,” the coach said of his QB. “The kids have been responding well in his absence, so we run it as we go. This was our third game without him, so we’re getting used to it. The team has been rallying around the back-ups.”
The Aztecs are back home this Friday, taking on Twentynine Palms (2-1, lost to Rim of the World, 38-0, Friday) with a 7 p.m. kickoff. Barstow (also 2-1) will be looking to go two games over .500 with the game against the Wildcats. Esposito is taking a simple approach.
“The kids executed a great game plan this week, and that’s what we’ll look to do again next week,” he said. “We’ll try to keep the mental errors down and improve in all phases of the game.”