With two touchdown passes and another running, East Union sophomore quarterback Lucas Garcia helped pull his Lancers atop the Valley Oak League standings with a 28-7 win over Lathrop High in the league opener for both teams.
Garcia was impressive in his varsity VOL debut, answering an opening drive score from the Spartans with a pair of score within a 3 minute and 20 second span. Garcia broke the goal line from a yard out and then followed it up with a 17-yard strike to receiver Eddie Daube.
Garcia got out the pocket and made a beautiful throw to the south end zone’s right front pylon, where he found Daube in stride and dragging his feet for the score. The second score came with 8:03 in the second quarter and would put East Union up for good.
“I felt good,” Garcia said. “It felt good being around these guys; that’s really what kept me going. It was big for us to get a win.
“And now it’s just about getting back to work and trying to do it again.”
Lathrop (0-1, 0-4 overall) could not have opened the contest any better, plugging the Lancer offense up after just five plays from scrimmage. Lathrop would then block East Union’s ensuing punt and take the 7-0 lead seven plays later on a one-yard run from quarterback Kenny Garrett.
Garrett was efficient with the Spartan offense, but a pair of trips inside the redzone came up empty. With the Spartans behind 21-7 they would end consecutive possessions with fumbles, eliminating any chances of jumping atop the VOL standings with a 1-0 record.
“The way we started was nice,” Lathrop head coach Jesse Rodriguez said. “As the game progressed I thought at times we were moving the ball and started to wear them down, and I thought ‘OK, here we go’. It just never materialized. And the kids have to get some confidence.
“We’ve scored 20 points in four games now — that ain’t going to do it.”
Lathrop running back Kevin Rainey bruised out 83 yards on 24 carries as the Spartans’ most effective weapon. Garrett tossed for 81 yards, but a loss of 30 yards, majority from sacks, stopped the Spartans on half of their second-half possessions.
East Union (1-0, 1-3) called Mark Aguilar’s number 17 times and he finished with 118 yards rushing. Aguilar did not get into the end zone, but his impact on the game was immeasurable. He and Victor Lopez (11 carries, 66 yards, TD) were Garcia’s key supplements for an offense that racked up 300 yards and four offensive scores.
“That’s why he was the starter today,” Lancers head coach Willie Herrera said. “Because in practice his confidence is growing every single day. The competition between the quarterbacks is awesome. Im really proud of these guys.
“We’re going to enjoy this win, it’s been a long time since we had a ‘W’.”