In Live Oak High’s league opener, visiting Lincoln High began the game with an eight-play 80-yard touchdown drive.
“They smacked us in the mouth,” Live Oak coach Mike Gemo said. “We had to wake up a little bit.”
They woke up quite a bit. After the first drive, it was total domination by the Acorns in a 66-15 rout over the Lions in Blossom Valley Athletic League Mount Hamilton Division action Oct. 6.
Senior running back Josh Gagni and Mekhi David ran through huge holes provided by the offensive line, broke tackles and dragged defenders downfield.
Junior quarterback Luke Newell, behind excellent protection, completed 7-of-7 pass attempts for 103 yards and two touchdowns. The Live Oak defense totally stifled Lincoln.
“I think the whole team did amazing,” Newell said. “We all were doing our jobs. Especially our offensive line, which has gotten better with their blocking. That’s where it all starts.”
In the first half, Live Oak scored touchdowns on each of eight possessions, accumulating 308 yards of total offense.
In those eight possessions, Live Oak faced third down on just two occasions. For the game, Live Oak scored 10 touchdowns and never punted.
After Lincoln’s initial drive, the Acorns’ defense held the Lions to 23 yards and two first downs the rest of the half. Additionally, hard-hitting Live Oak defenders forced turnovers via fumbles on four of eight possessions and produced one more in the second half.
The halftime score was 52-8. The entire second half was played with a running clock.
With the win, Live Oak improved to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in Mount Hamilton Division play, while Lincoln fell to 3-3 overall and 0-1 in league.
Gagni finished with 90 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 10 carries. David totaled 84 yards including a 66-yard rushing score and caught a 20-yard touchdown throw from Newell. Landon Dietz rushed for a score and Keaton Dietz caught a 7-yard pass for a touchdown.
Live Oak track star Christian Hauge ran 27 yards for a touchdown and created a Sports Center highlight-reel with a kick off return down the west sideline, breaking five tackles and sprinting 85 yards for another score.
The entire Acorns bench received significant playing time, with Jovani Olivarez and Josh Cachula adding touchdown runs.
“A big thank you to our linemen and our fullback,” David said. “It feels amazing. But we should not stop here. We should keep this up.”
David cited linemen Izrael Pulido, JJ Becks, Dariano Garcia and the fullback Gagni. Ryan Forbis and Mateo Robledo were also contributors.
“The entire team really came together,” Gemo said. “We were faster than Lincoln. And our defense really shut them down. Everyone had to do their job. It’s all eleven of them out there. We play physical.”
Lincoln was not a paper tiger (or paper lion). The Lions had beaten San Jose, Westmont and Silver Creek high schools, the first two victories coming by 45 and 28 points. Losses to Leigh and Aragon had been competitive.
However, on Friday night, they could not keep up with Live Oak. Especially after the first 3 minutes and 36 seconds.
The Lions were led by Ezariah Sofeni with 68 yards on 17 carries, though just 27 in the first half. Kyan Phillips carried 14 times for 43 yards and one score. He was 10-for-17 for 98 yards through the air, with Romelle Lawrence collecting six of the passes for 68 yards and one touchdown.
“I think I have never seen that many points put up in one game,” Newell said. “This game shows everyone who we are.”
BVAL Mount Hamilton Division play continued for the Acorns with a road trip to Leland High on Oct. 12. Results of this game were not available prior to this publication’s deadline.
The rest of the league season has Live Oak hosting a solid Santa Teresa High squad Oct. 20, followed by back-to-back road games starting with Oak Grove on Oct. 26. Both games are slated to kick off at 7:15pm.
The regular season finale may be the one that decides the Mount Hamilton Division title, as the Acorns head south on Highway 101 to face Christopher High on Nov. 3 at 7:15pm.