Offense wasn't too big a concern for Quartz Hill High entering the 1991 season.
Preseason All-State tailback Erik Thomas, standout quarterback Jake Haro and numerous other weapons were returning for the Rebels, ranked No. 1 in the region.
Defense was another story. Coach John Albee was concerned that his defensive corps was a tad inexperienced and could prove to be the Rebels' undoing.
Friday night at Quartz Hill, the defense covered for a sluggish offense and keyed a 19-7 nonleague win over Lompoc in the opener for both teams.
Doug Ybarra had heard the whispers and questions.
"You bet I did," said Ybarra, a defensive back who broke a 7-7 tie when he intercepted a third-quarter pass and returned it 77 yards for a touchdown. "We all did. I think it hyped up the defense more than the offense."
Ybarra, who spearheaded a Rebel defense that forced five turnovers, also picked off a Jarrod DeGeorgia pass earlier in the game.
Said Albee: "You never know what's going to take place in an opener."
Thomas even provided a bit of a surprise. He missed most of the week's practices because of a pulled hamstring and was questionable as late as Thursday.
For a guy who almost didn't play, he didn't do a bad job, shredding the defending Division VII champions' defense for 128 yards in 25 carries.
His one-yard scoring dive with 7 mintes 7 seconds left clinched the win.
Haro struggled at times, completing two of six passes for 35 yards and running for 12 yards in 11 carries. However, he did open the scoring on a six-yard bootleg in the second quarter.
Jerome Hunt provided the only highlight for Lompoc, returning a punt 86 yards down the right sideline to tie the score midway through the second quarter.
The Rebels dominated the first half, running 40 plays to Lompoc's 14, but had 45 yards in penalties.