It was a tale of two halves of football on Friday night.
Playing in front of a festive homecoming crowd at Dino Cunial Field, the East Union High varsity squad was locked in a battle with rival Sierra for much of the first two quarters.
The Timberwolves (1-1, 2-3), however, scored 25 unanswered points in the third quarter to break open the Valley Oak League affair, winning rather convincingly, 46-12. The win was Sierra’s eighth straight over its crosstown rival.
“I thought we came out a little timid,” said Sierra coach Jeff Harbison.
But when all was said and done, his quarterback, Anthony Perea, did plenty of damage.
He completed 12 of 20 passes for 191 yards and one interception, throwing three for touchdowns – included was a 75-yard bomb to Jordan Lewis – and rushing for two more scores.
Perea connected with Zach Penirian on a 21-yard scoring strike in the first quarter.
Down 7-0, the Lancers (1-1, 1-4) struck back quickly in their possession, with quarterback Joe Menzel connecting with a wide-open Charlie Priest on a 56-yard scoring bomb.
Harbison later called it blown coverage.
Sierra blew a scoring opportunity early in the second quarter. Tyler Clark had a big punt return to the Lancers’ 33. A pass-interference call against East Union advanced the ball to the 12.
But East Union’s Brennan Koeller came up with an interception in the end zone, hauling in the theft while falling backward. From there, T.J. Williams took a short pass from Menzel, turning the corner and breaking loose for an apparent score.
The play was called back due to a penalty. On the next play, Sierra safety Guillermo Nunes came up with the interception at midfield. He had two picks in the game.
With his team nursing a 7-6 lead, Perea directed the Timberwolves on a 48-yard drive shortly before the half. He found Penirian on a 35-yard pass play and, again, on a 13-yard touchdown toss.
Trailing 14-6 at the intermission, East Union looked to get back in the third quarter.
Sierra linebacker Garrett DeVillanueva recovered a fumble and returned the loose ball to the Lancers 8.
The Lancers settled for Zepeda’s 27-yard field goal.
The Timberwolves applied pressure in the backfield led by linemen Will Ward and linebacker Austin Acker, who registered a sack.
Ward, on offense, paved the way for Sierra’s ground game, opening up holes for Perea and Jayson Manuta, who had a game-high 105 yards on 15 carries.
Perea also scored on runs of 5- and 1- yards and later hit Lewis on the homerun ball.
East Union coach Willie Herrera was none too pleased with his team’s performance.
“There’s an old saying that you play the same way (in games) as you do in practice,” he said. “On Monday and Tuesday we had good practices much like the first half. But on Wednesday we were terrible.
“The third quarter tonight (resembled) our Wednesday practice.”