The best way to sum up the condition Oak Park High was in by the end of Friday night’s Tri-Valley League football game was that it had more cheerleaders on its homecoming float (16) than players on the field (14).
The Eagles lost standout running back Jason Stein at the end of the first half, then committed 4 second-half turnovers as they lost, 24-0, to last season’s Inland Conference and league champion Carpinteria.
Oak Park has beaten Carpinteria just once, in 1981. Friday’s loss dampens Oak Park’s hopes of winning the league championship. After winning its first 6 games en route to the best start in school history, Oak Park fell to 6-1, 1-1 in league play.
“Losing Jason hurt us. We were scrambling to put guys in the right positions,” Oak Park Coach Ron Veres said. “Jess Garner did a good job of filling in for him, but then we were only one dimensional. And the turnovers hurt us.. . . . We’re just going to have to come back and win our last 3 football games if we want to get into the playoffs.”
Stein strained his right knee and is expected to be out 2 to 3 weeks, Veres said. Stein’s injury came on defense, on a play in which Carpinteria quarterback Coley Candaele threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Shad Lara with 54 seconds left in the half. Stein did not play in the second half.
Carpinteria (5-2, 2-0 in league play) scored in the second half on a 1-yard run by Izak Ondre and David Uhler’s 22-yard dash.
Oak Park’s Gary Silverman completed 7 of 15 for 80 yards but threw 4 interceptions.
Garner rushed for 39 yards in 12 carries for Oak Park, but the Eagles were held to 137 total yards while their defense gave up 323.
With his team trailing, 3-0, Silverman threw a pass that was intercepted by Candaele, who returned it 34 yards to the Eagle 27. Three plays later, Candaele hooked up with Lara for the touchdown.
Hector Garcia kicked a 47-yard field goal with 1:41 left in the first quarter to start the scoring. Oak Park appeared to have stopped a Warrior drive, but the team did not acknowledge Veres’ instructions to accept a holding penalty on third down. A foul would have put Garcia out of field-goal range.