There was plenty of hype surrounding Friday night's season-opening debut of high-profile prospects Darick Holmes Jr. and Darnay Holmes, and the brothers did not disappoint. Far from it, in fact.
The siblings, transfers from Oaks Christian, set the tone early in the game, and their Newbury Park teammates followed suit in an impressive 42-14 win over visiting Lake Balboa Birmingham.
The brothers started at receiver and defensive back, but didn't play for a majority of the second half. There was no need after Darick, a senior, caught seven passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Darnay, a sophomore, had five receptions for 90 yards.
"From the second we got on campus, this place has felt like home," said Darick, who has committed to Arizona. "Newbury Park has had good teams in the past and we want to restore the tradition right here, bring football back to this school."
Birmingham played with heavy hearts a week after two former Patriots, Alex Manu, 18, and Isaiah Hastings, 19, were killed in a car accident. Another former Birmingham player, Eldridge Salguero, 18, was injured in the collision. All three were playing football for College of the Canyons.
"I can't say enough about this team, and despite the final score, I'm proud of this group," Birmingham Coach Jim Rose said. "They went out there and fought with everything, battled for each other, played for all the people in our community.
As a result of the Holmes brothers' effectiveness and the blocking of Oregon-bound senior Zack Okun, the ground game opened up for the Panthers in the second half. Jonas Mello scored on runs of four and six yards. Blake Faga added a one-yard touchdown run.
"We came into this game with a chip on our shoulders, we had something to prove, and we want to make a statement this season," Darnay Holmes said.
With Birmingham focused on stopping the brothers, quarterback Daniel Prieto started to spread the ball around, and he experienced some success when he found Ryan McGee on a 14-yard touchdown pass for a 21-0 lead 5:22 before halftime.
It turned out to be all the points Newbury Park would need.