Playing in their first Central Coast Section playoff home game since 2012 on Nov. 18, the No. 2-seed football team (10-1 overall, 4-1 Peninsula Athletic League) gave the home crowd a worthy performance, defeating No. 7 Westmont (7-4 overall, 4-3 Blossom Valley Athletic League) 41-23.
“It feels good,” said head coach Steve Sell. “We won 10 games for the first time since 2004 and won a CCS playoff game. That’s terrific.”
After putting up an average 16 points a game for their last four matchups, the Dons exploded, scoring all 41 points, as well as rushing for 382 yards, in the first half.
“We executed,” Sell said. “We blocked well, our guys ran hard and we really executed. We didn’t make any mistakes.”
The offense was led by junior running backs Camron Grant and Paul Lautaimi. Grant carried the ball seven times for 167 yards, while Lautaimi rushed 10 times for 146 yards and three touchdowns.
“I used the o-line,” Lautaimi said. “We have great chemistry and I just read the holes that they create.”
Additionally, the passing game was able to be effective via the play-action pass. Senior quarterback Gabe Campos went 4-8 for 99 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target, fellow senior Davion Cox, caught both touchdowns and 54 yards.
“It felt really good to score some points,” Sell said. “I’m glad the play-action passing game worked out well and I’m glad we got that on track.”
In the second half, Sell decided to put in his backups to play out the rest of the game, leading to Westmont scoring 20 unanswered points as a consolation.
“That was the best part of today,” Sell said. “To be able to get them some playing time, it was great. Those guys work hard in practice and with very little playing time. I was so happy they got a chance to get in there and play.”
Up next, the Dons will host No. 3 St. Francis (8-3 overall, 5-2 West Catholic Athletic League) on Nov. 24. Although the Dons are a higher seed than the Lancers, they are expecting a tough test.
“St. Francis is outstanding; they run the ball well and play tough defense,” Sell said. “They’re one of the best teams in [CCS]. But so are we, and it will be quite a challenge, but we’re up to it. ”