Suddenly, Thousand Oaks High has become a dominant defensive football team. Perhaps this defensive unit--stocked with 8 juniors--has not yet reached the level of last season’s Coastal Conference championship team, but the zeros are beginning to pile up.
Six days after limiting Simi Valley to 9 yards, Thousand Oaks turned the defensive trick again, this time against Camarillo, 21-0, in a Marmonte League game Thursday night at Thousand Oaks.
It was the Lancers’ second consecutive 21-0 shutout over a league opponent. Thousand Oaks is unscored upon in 9 quarters.
“At the present rate, I think the defense is outscoring the offense,” Thousand Oaks Coach Bob Richards said. “But I think the offense will come around. I saw improvements over last week.”
The defense produced more points than the offense against Camarillo. Thousand Oaks returned 2 interceptions for touchdowns, giving the Lancers 3 defensive scores for the season. The offense has 9 touchdowns.
Camarillo, which had averaged 298 yards in its first 4 games, managed 104 yards. Sophomore running back Kris Kirksey, who had 184 yards in a Camarillo’s 9-6 win over Royal last week, had 19 yards in 7 carries.
The interceptions came 2 minutes apart in the third quarter and turned a 7-0 Lancer lead into a rout.
Richards gave much of the credit to the defensive line, led by junior tackle Chris Foster, a 5-foot, 9-inch, 205-pound Camarillo crusher. Foster disrupted the Scorpions’ option attack and helped maintain constant pressure on Camarillo quarterback Wes Nathaniel.
“The coaches just wanted the defensive line to get into the backfield and cause mayhem,” Foster said. “And hopefully get the quarterback.
“Our defense tries to pump our offense up and pull the whole team together.”
Not only did Thousand Oaks’ defense inspire the offense, it turned the game around.
On the first play after a missed Lancer field-goal attempt, cornerback Jim Magallanes snared a pass from Nathaniel that deflected off the hands of Damon Martinez. Magallanes darted 26 yards down the left sideline for a 14-0 lead with 5 minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Scorpions started again from their 20, but 3 plays later Ronnie Cruz picked off reserve quarterback Matt Brimigion’s first pass and returned it 33 yards for the touchdown. Thousand Oaks led, 21-0, with 2:53 left in the quarter.
Thousand Oaks (3-2, 2-0 in league play) scored the only points of the first half on quarterback Anthony Gonzales’ bootleg right from the 1. John Mogler’s point-after gave the Lancers a 7-0 lead with 3:22 left in the first half.
The Scorpions, however, foiled 2 Thousand Oaks drives in the half. Junior defensive back Zachary Achen intercepted a Gonzales pass on Camarillo’s 1-yard line on second and 10 from the 14. The Lancers had driven from their own 20 before the interception 3 plays into the second quarter.
Achen again picked off a Gonzales pass, with 1 minute remaining in the half. Thousand Oaks had justforced Camarillo to punt a third time, but Gonzales’ pass was well over the head of the intended receiver. The Scorpions, however, were unable to gain even a first down from the Lancer 46.
Camarillo (2-3, 1-1) gained only 40 yards in the first half and managed only 2 first downs. Thousand Oaks gained 111 yards but was stymied except for the 63-yard touchdown drive.
Despite missing starting tackle Mark Floyd, who was ill, Thousand Oaks’ running game was solid.
Fullback Jeff Moore rushed 10 times for 50 yards--all in the first half--and tailback Mike Lindsay had 69 yards in 14 carries.