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First game victory for Aztecs
BARSTOW • “This is the best day since my wedding day.”
High praise, indeed, from Barstow head football coach Mike Esposito. But it’s understandable, the coach has waited quite some time for a win.
Esposito took over the team last year, a season in which the Aztecs got just one win, and that was by forfeit. On Friday night, Barstow earned a victory. A big one.
The Aztecs have already matched their win total from last year. They kicked off the 2012 campaign with a home match against Littlerock, and wound up on the fat end of a 39-6 score.
It’s an impressive turnaround for a team that has gone 1-9 in each of the past two seasons. That in itself may have been a major motivator, according to Esposito.
“These kids are hungry, they want to win,” he said. “They’ve been working since July. We had 35 practices in the preseason. These kids really wanted it tonight.”
That was evident from the start. Littlerock was set back on its heels immediately, as the Aztecs held a commanding 26-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The first score of the game was on a 36-yard field goal by Sultan Hamdan, who had a rather productive night; later in the game, he’d have field goals of 33 and 23 yards, and also kicked four extra points.
James Noble scored the first Aztecs touchdown of the season, on a 35-yard run. Noble finished with 36 carries on 166 yards.
“He always plays hard,” said Esposito of the Barstow senior. “He’s a kid that does everything you ask of him.”
David Green made a five-yard run for the next TD. Green had nine carries on the night on 43 yards. Devonte Tate scored on a 27-yard interception return, and Domenic Silva had a 23-yard fumble recovery for a score.
The Aztecs nearly shut out their opponent. The Lobos didn’t score until midway through the fourth quarter, as Daniel Lucatero found the end zone on an eight-yard run.
The only flaw in the night for the Aztecs was an injury to quarterback Tracy Venable. Venable left the game in the third quarter, but Esposito thinks he’ll be ready for next week’s tilt.
“He tripped over one of our own players. I think he’s ok, but we’ll get him to the doc tonight and see what he says,” said the coach. “But I liked how the kids adapted to an injury right out of the chute. It didn’t throw them off at all. I really like how they adapted.”
It all added up to a very promising start for a team that has something to prove. The Aztecs won their scrimmage last week, 27-13, over Coachella Valley, so they now have a two-game winning streak going.
“We haven’t won on this field in two years,” said Esposito. “It feels good. We’ll take it.”
The Aztecs go on the road to Lancaster to take on Antelope Valley next Friday night, kick-off at 7 p.m.