Another step was taken Friday night on the death march Antelope Valley High calls a football schedule.
The Antelopes, playing the Southland's toughest slate, fell to La Puente Bishop Amat, 41-20, in a nonleague game before more than 4,000.
The Lancers, ranked fourth in the west by one publication, side-stepped a major blunder, then turned three second-half turnovers into touchdowns to extend a 20-12 halftime lead into a comfortable victory.
Bishop Amat defensive back Jason Jones intercepted a Michael Place pass and returned it 23 yards for a third-quarter touchdown, then recovered an Antelope Valley fumble in the end zone for another score to give the Lancers (4-0) a 34-12 lead.
Antelope Valley squandered an opportunity to challenge at the start of the third quarter when Bishop Amat allowed the Antelopes' second-half kickoff to roll to its own two-yard line, where Antelope Valley's Charles Socci recovered.
However, four plays produced minus-nine yards.
"That was very frustrating," Antelope Coach Brent Newcomb said.
Antelope Valley (0-2-1), ranked No. 6 in the region by The Times, closed the margin to 34-20 on Jermaine Norman's seven-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. But Lancer quarterback Chris Rix connected with Robert Jones for a 30-yard touchdown pass to put the game out of reach.
Robert Jones also scored on an 11-yard run in the first quarter.
Bishop Amat tailback Mike Wagner added 106 yards in 21 carries.
"I think our kids played about as well as they could play," said Newcomb, whose team lost its opener to Central Section power Bakersfield and tied City Section favorite Sylmar. Next week, it's Dominguez, which began the season ranked No. 18 in the state.
"We'll be OK if we can just survive one more week," Newcomb said.
They barely made it out of Friday night.
Playing without linebacker Ron Miller (ankle injury), defensive back Chasio Gaines (shoulder injury) and running back Jermaine Marshall (dismissed from team), Antelope Valley suited up only 32 players compared to more than 80 for Bishop Amat.