It had been awhile since the were on the winning end of the hit Queen song, “Another One Bites the Dust,” that many teams send their opponents home with after a loss. But thanks to a fast start, aided by a momentum-swinging interception for a touchdown, it was the Eagles who were singing on Friday night.
The Eagles, whose strong non-conference schedule sent them to an 0-4 start on the year, got their first win of the season in a 51-14 drubbing of Bella Vista to complete their homecoming celebration.
The win was paced by an early interception by Justin Yip, who stepped in front of a Ryan Locke pass with 5 minutes, 15 seconds to go in the first quarter and ran for a 60-yard touchdown to give his team an early 11-0 lead.
“I was just locked on No. 2 (a receiver), I saw the ball coming, I jumped on it,” Yip said. “My coaches put me where I needed to be and I just ran it to the house.
“It set the tone for the game and with the tone we put up 51 points.”
An early edge hadn’t been in the Eagles’ vocabulary in this young season. In their four losses, opponents scored 60 or more points and El Camino had scored more than 20 points just once, in a to start the year.
The losses, though, didn’t deter the confidence of this team.
“We hadn’t put one together yet and we finally did,” said El Camino coach Adam Reinking. “This is what we’re capable of doing and we had a very tough non-league schedule and we played some very tough teams. We didn’t play any soft opponents. We learned a lot from those loses and our boys deserve this. I’m so proud of them.
“0-4 is a tough start but, you know what? We just keep battling and our boys came out and played El Camino football, put it together for four quarters.”
El Camino’s offense clicked for the first time this season en route to 510 yards of total offense. Jonah Lessard led the passing attack with 178 yards and two touchdowns, while Herman Thomas carried the load on the ground on his way to 146 yards and two scores.
It was the defense, though, that kept Bella Vista from getting anything going offensively. The Broncos netted just four first downs in the first half and didn’t have a play longer than 10 yards.
“We came out and we were kind of kind of flat,” said Bella Vista coach Matt Polston. “We came out flat and they came out kind of quick. They beat us up front, they outplayed us, outcoached us, out everythinged us. It happened right off the bat. There just wasn’t a whole lot that we did very good.”
The Broncos got on the board with 1:49 on the clock in the second quarter, thanks in part to several El Camino penalties, when Locke threw into tight coverage to Michael White for a 45-yard touchdown pass. By then, though, the game was already well decided with the score 37-7.
After Yip’s interception, Thomas picked up his first score of the night on a 1-yard run with 2:22 in the first to put the Eagles up 17-0 after a failed two-point conversion. Lessard found tight end Demetrius Kuwabara for a 36-yard touchdown pass with 9:58 in the second to take a 24-0 lead.
El Camino scored three more times in the second quarter behind a 26-yard run by Thomas, a 28-yard run by Will McGehee and a 76-yard pass from Lessard to Kevin Wise.
The Eagles held a 44-7 lead at the half.
Their final score came on a 2-yard run by Brent Dickey with 8:45 in the fourth quarter.
“(This game) means a lot,” said Yip, whose team begins conference play Oct. 6 at Antelope. “It sets the tone for our conference games going in. All those D-1 schools we were playing just gets us ready.”
In other action Friday, Del Campo shut out Cordova 50-0.
Today, at 1 p.m., hosts Franklin of Elk Grove in the Marauders' homecoming game, plays Foothill at El Camino and hosts Casa Roble.