Atwater 0 7 0 0 — 7
East Union 21 18 15 0 — 54
E — Nickolas Luna 29 pass from Luke Weaver (Cooper Rossi kick), 9:59.
E — Weaver 49 run (Rossi kick), 8:08.
E — Kainoa Ontai 14 pass from Weaver (Rossi kick), 0:13.5.
E — Johntae Maggard 18 run (kick blocked), 10:42.
E — David Flores 1 run (pass failed), 7:40.
A — Colton Dukes 15 pass from Bo Valladao (Marco Rivera kick), 0:58.5
E — Dylan Lee 66 pass from Weaver (run failed), 0:41.3.
E — Maggard 1 run (Maggard run), 10:46.
E — Weaver 41 run (Rossi kick), 1:48.
East Union’s spread offense nearly amassed 700 yards on Friday at Dino Cunial Field, while the defense was a play away from its first shutout in the Mike Kuhnlenz Era.
The Lancers dominated in every facet of their 54-7 lambasting of Atwater and are 3-1 going into their Valley Oak League opener at Oakdale, but the first-year coach is already nitpicking areas of concern. That’s because they’re about to face a perennial contender that owns a 27-game winning streak against them.
“Great win tonight, but we’re going into The Corral,” Kuhnlenz said, referencing Oakdale’s hostile home stadium. “We’ll enjoy this one tonight and then tomorrow it’s get ready for the big boys. If we’re not on our game, it’s going to show. They’ll make you pay if you don’t mind your Ps and Qs.”
Luke Weaver was once again spectacular in orchestrating the high-octane attack, completing 29 of 33 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns. At one point, he connected on 18 straight attempts in the first half.
Weaver also had a season-low five rushes — including the game-ending kneel-down — but still ran for 84 yards and two scores. His TD trots covered 49 and 41 yards.
Overall, East Union outgained the Falcons (0-4), 681-262.
“It was just how the defense played us, so I handed off the rock a lot,” Weaver said. “Our offensive line, running backs and receivers all dominated. We were blocking so well that they couldn’t stop us. Our line dominated the whole game and that just opened everything for us.”
The Lancers had three running backs — Johntae Maggard (nine rushes, 62 yards, two TDs), David Flores (nine rushes, 82 yards, TD) and Emilio Perez Jr. (six rushes, 58 yards) — share the load and each of them had productive nights.
Dylan Lee led the receiving corps with seven catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. The 66-yard score was with 41.3 seconds left in the first half was a quick answer to Atwater’s lone touchdown, a 19-yard pass from Bo Valladao (12 of 23, 174 yards) to Colton Dukes (four receptions, 62 yards).
East Union led comfortably at halftime, 39-7.
“Seemed like our guys took the foot off the gas,” Kuhnlenz said. “You can’t let teams back in. They started moving the ball pretty well. There’s a lot to clean up, and if we don’t clean it up Oakdale and the rest of them will make us pay.”
Jacob Toste (six receptions, 64 yards), Nickolas Luna (three receptions, 62 yards, TD), Kainoa Ontai (nine receptions, 69 yards, TD) and Zavier Sadorra (four receptions, 46 yards) were also heavily involved in the passing game for East Union.
East Union set the tone with the special teams unit as Adam Jimenez recovered an onside kick from Cooper Rossi to start the game. Jimenez was also in on two sacks and multiple tackles for losses on defense.
The Lancers’ ‘D’ forced three turnovers — fumble recoveries from Gannon Anderson and Toste, and an interception by Ontai. Maggard chipped in a sack. Atwater, which also operates out of the spread, was limited to just 37 rushing yards.
“I feel like we can do a lot better,” Ontai said of the defensive effort. He’s the Lancers’ top cornerback. “Today, we wanted to make sure to do our jobs and do our reads. We have to lock it in more and get better every single day of this week.”
Kuhnlenz already knows where to start in practice this Monday — everywhere.
“Defensively, we’re still misaligning, we’re not in position and we’re not doing our job on defense,” he said. “Offensively, we need to do a better job running the ball. Luke’s awesome but he’s still learning the offense. He’s super critical of himself, all great leaders are, but we definitely have some work to do.”