Yuba City routs Pioneer on homecoming
Honkers win 50-13
Coming off a heart-stopping 49-42 victory at Inderkum, Yuba City High's football team finally returned home after nearly a month on the road and put on a show that upstaged even the school's homecoming festivities on Friday night.
From the big plays provided by their explosive offense, to a suffocating performance by their defense and a well-executed game by their special team units, the Honkers did nearly everything right and turned their Tri-County Conference game against Pioneer into a blowout early.
There was simply no stopping the Honkers on this night.
Nate Van Dusen scored on long touchdown runs the first two times he touched the ball, Taylor Elkins tossed a 39-yard touchdown to Chevy Santana on his only pass attempt of the evening, and Yuba City completely overwhelmed the Patriots in a 50-13 victory in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Honker Stadium.
Yuba City put things away early by bolting out to a 37-0 lead at halftime and upped the score to 44-0 early in the third quarter before a running clock was used for the rest of the game.
Even the Honkers' reserves did their part, helping Yuba City up its record to 6-1 overall while improving to 2-0 in the TCC.
"I'm very pleased. The kids played tough, they ran hard and they blocked hard," Honkers coach John Ithurburn said. "It was a fun night for the school and the community. Everybody got to play tonight and we didn't have much of a drop off."
Van Dusen put the Honkers on the board early when he broke three arm tackles en route to a 44-yard touchdown scamper on the Honkers' second play from scrimmage. Elkins then hit Anthony Fleenor with the 2-point conversion, giving Yuba City a quick 8-0 lead.
On the Honkers' next offensive play, Van Dusen found paydirt again, this time from 49 yards out. Fleenor followed it up by punching in another 2-point conversion out of the swinging-gate formation and the rout was on.
Elkins hit Santana for the touchdown on the second play of Yuba City's next possession, giving the Honkers three touchdowns on their first five plays of the game.
Austin Thompson then returned a punt 60 yards to set up a short touchdown run by Austin Van Poole. Omar Herrera sprinted 72 yards for another score to put Yuba City comfortably ahead at the break.
The Honkers proceeded to outgain Pioneer 276-33 in the first half, and the Patriots' lone first down came courtesy of a penalty.
The only thing that went wrong on this night came in the second quarter when Elkins was forced to leave the game with a bloody nose.
"Throughout the week, we wanted to stay cool. Pioneer had the ability to beat us and we wanted to stay humble," said Van Dusen, who finished the night with 96 yards rushing on just three carries. "It was homecoming and everyone wanted to come out and do good in front of the home crowd. We just wanted to give it all we got and do what we do."
Yuba City's reserves played the entire second half and Devin Pettengill put the finishing touches on the win by scoring on a 12-yard TD run on a quarterback keeper before returning a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.
"We got out of here with a win and everybody got to play," Ithurburn said. "Their coach was happy with the way we conducted ourselves and that's important to me."
Yuba City and River Valley are now tied atop the TCC standings with three games to go. And while the Honkers are looking to claim their first league title in 25 years, they aren't looking that far ahead just yet.
"We can't get too hot-headed," Van Dusen said. "Every team has the ability to beat us, so we have to come out ready to play."
Yuba City also won the JV game 28-8 to improve to improve to a perfect 7-0 on the year.