CARPINTERIA – It was another long drive and another learning experience at the expense of a lopsided defeat for the Flintridge Prep football team.
Facing a Carpinteria Cate squad far more seasoned, experienced and physical, the Rebels succumbed early in a 70-20 loss Saturday afternoon at Cate School in eight-man play.
"We're just young," said Rebels coach Russell White, whose Prep squad advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals last season but lost a considerable amount of starters, including four All-CIF players. "[Cate is] just a well-oiled machine that was better than us."
Cate (1-1) scored on its first six possessions and never looked back to defeat Prep (2-2) in a game that was a far cry from the 55-48 nailbiter won by the Rams last season.
The Rebels also dropped to 0-2 on the road as they lost to Orcutt Academy two weeks prior, 51-23.
Cate boasted plenty of weapons on offense with a slew of big bodies running through would-be Rebels tacklers en route to 452 total yards (329 on the ground).
However, the most potent proved to be running back Drew Anastasio, who had eight carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 65 yards, all of his grabs going for six.
"They're a great team with a lot of strong, fast and shifty players all in one," said Flintridge Prep defensive back Tommy Porter, whose strip of a Rams ball carrier following a 20-yard run was the biggest defensive highlight for the Rebels. "They are good, but I think we obviously could've done a better job tackling them."
While the Rams often ran through and past the Rebels defense, Cate's pass rush and run defense swarmed the Rebels offense, which was held to 212 yards, most of it in the second half.
Quarterback John Lytle, the team's lone returning All-CIF player, was hit all game long and completed 16 of 35 passes for 171 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Nick Davis had a game-high eight catches for 80 yards and a touchdown and Ramzi Beshir added three catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. Running back Alex Smith scored on a seven-yard touchdown run on the game's final play.
"That's all we can take it as; it has to be learning," White said.
Flintridge Prep had no answers for Cate from the onset.
Physical, big and talented, the Rams scored on every first-half possession until they kneeled twice to go into halftime with a 42-7 lead that followed a 21-0 advantage after the first quarter and preceded a 56-14 lead following three stanzas.
Prep had zero total yards and two first downs, both via penalties, in the first quarter.
After Cate rumbled to a 28-0 second-quarter lead, the Rebels finally found life in their offense.
Lytle completed five passes on a scoring drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown to Davis, who spectacularly grabbed the ball with his left hand and brought it into his body for the six.
But just as quickly as the Rebels had something positive, Rams quarterback Jack Deardorff hit Anastasio for a 50-yard score on Cate's next play from scrimmage.
It was just that kind of long afternoon for the Rebels.
"We always have to work hard," Porter said, "and just get better."