West Ranch Falls to Thousand Oaks

THOUSAND OAKS – Something had to give. Thousand Oaks’ quarterback Clark Abourisk had been averaging more than 270 passing yards a game, while the West Ranch defense had only allowed less than 145 yards through the air.

Coming off a 24-point fourth quarter meltdown last week, the disappointment continued for the Wildcats as the Lancer aerial assault imposed its will in route to a 28-10 win on Friday night at Lancer stadium.

Ten was the magic number for Thousand Oaks in the first half, finishing three consecutive 10-play touchdown drives to jump out to a 21-7 lead.

Abourisk hit Nick Julier on a 24-yard screen pass for the first score of the game.

West Ranch answered when Zahr Lyttle bounced a draw outside and scampered down the sideline for a 44-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7. Lyttle finished with 84 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.

Thousand Oaks continued clicking on all cylinders when Abourisk completed 6-of-7 on the next drive, finishing with his own one-yard plunge. Then, Abourisk found Nathan Debeikes, who lunged across the goal-line on a nine-yard swing pass to increase the lead to 21-7.

West Ranch halted the momentum with an efficient hurry-up offense directed by quarterback Gerrit Mouw, moving the ball 45 yards in just 40 seconds, culminating with a 35-yard field goal by Justice Rodrigues from the right hash mark to close the margin to 21-10 as time expired in the first half.

Mouw went 14-of-25 for 114 yards and 1 interception.

The Wildcats went back on the attack in the second half when Mouw engineered a five-minute, 78-yard drive that reached the two-yardline.

On fourth-and-one, head coach Sean O’Brien showed confidence in his offense going for the yardage rather than kicking a 19-yard field goal. The Wildcats failed to convert.

“You feel it’s easier if it’s fourth and inches,” said O’Brien. “We were moving the ball well, pushing their line the entire drive and we felt like we could get it.”

Thousand Oaks tacked on one more score with 1:57 remaining on a 20-yard touchdown by Debeikes, who finished with 104 yards on the ground and 54 receiving. Abourisk was 20-of-26 for 212 yards and two touchdowns.

“Today was more of a learning experience,” said Lyttle. “We learned we need to improve the little things.”

West Ranch will have one final non-league test at 7 p.m. next Friday against St. Francis at Valencia High.

“I’m pleased with the heart and effort our team showed,” said O’Brien. “We’re a significantly better team than when we played Moorpark.”


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