The Moorpark football team defeated Royal, 35-10, last Friday night at home in what was the final game before the Marmonte League West Division showdown with Oaks Christian in Westlake Village this Friday night.
The Musketeers have now outscored their last four opponents, all wins, 172-43.
“I thought our offense was on track all night,” said Moorpark head coach Tim Lins. “And defensively, we played our game.”
Offensively, some of the usual suspects led the way. Austin Cole, Moorpark’s senior quarterback, completed 15 of 17 passes, with three of the completions going for touchdowns. According to the Ventura County Star, Cole threw for 263 yards.
Aaron Stanton, the team’s standout three-year starter at running back, ran for one touchdown of 29 yards. He gained 94 yards on the ground (also the Stars’ stats).
“We had a good first drive and scored and I thought Austin was efficient,” said Lins. “Aaron Stanton had another good night for us, (he) was efficient.”
But it was one of Cole’s best receivers who had a career night.
“Chad Hansen had a big night,” said Lins, of the senior wide receiver who caught all three of Cole’s TD passes. The last one, an 80-yard hookup, came late in the third quarter.
“He has put in a lot of time,” Lins said of Hansen. “He’s worked very hard. He ran track and trained for football at the same time in the spring and he’s a dedicated young man.
“So for him to have a great game and a good season is rewarding to him, for sure. He had a big night and we’re hoping there’s more to come.”
Moorpark, which was in the lead 7-3 after the first quarter, the touchdown coming on a 15-yard pass from Cole to Hansen, broke open the close game with three unanswered second-quarter TDs.
Lins said several other players also stepped up in the win over the Highlanders.
“Tyler Puccio had a really good game for us at defensive tackle,” he said. Puccio, a junior, is already a three-year starter and Lins was asked about his steady progress since 2010.
“He’s improved in every way,” said Lins. “Certainly, he’s more of a physical specimen, he’s bigger than he was and understands the defense real well.” Puccio is listed at 6-foot-2, 280 pounds on the Moorpark roster.
Another player Lins cited was Brendan Hodgson, a senior wide receiver, who has helped on the other side of the ball recently for Moorpark (now 7-1 overall, 3-0 in the Marmonte League West).
“He played corner for us the last two weeks, pretty much most of the snaps and has done a good job for us,” Lins said of Hodgson.
Tony Mack, Moorpark’s senior linebacker, who was All Ventura County last year, is another player Lins praised after the win over Royal.
“Tony Mack’s a guy that’s been mentioned a lot, but Tony Mack’s a very consistent player,” he said. “He had another stellar game. He’s always prepared.”
Mack has an offer to play at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, a Division I school.
“I think he can play at that level,” said Lins, who noted that Mack is still interested in waiting to see what other options develop before making a decision about next year.
Lins said the win over Royal (5-3, 1-2) was not a cakewalk and that several key players, including Hansen and Mack, were still in the game when the fourth quarter began.
“Our starting offensive line was in there in the fourth quarter,” he said. “Royal is a pretty physical team, so it was a physical game.”
As is so often the case, how a team practices during the week is reflected in how it performs that Friday night.
Lins doesn’t expect anything less than a spirited week of practice with first place and a chance to play the following week against St. Bonaventure for the Marmonte League championship, on the line against the Lions on Friday night.
“Hopefully, we’re looking forward to having a good week of practice and putting our best effort out there,” he said, as he took a short break from preparing for Oaks Christian, Sunday, at the Moorpark High School football facilities, to speak with a reporter.
Read extended preview coverage of the Moorpark – Oaks Christian battle later in the week here in Moorpark Patch.