San Marino High School varsity football coach Mike Hobbie wasn’t satisfied with his team’s performance despite building a five-point lead at the half against visiting Calabasas Viewpoint last Friday, and gathered his players in the locker room to ask a simple question.
“He came in very calm, which we weren’t expecting,” said senior quarterback Blake Cabot. “He asked, ‘Do you want to win?’ We said yes, and he told us that if we wanted to win, we need to [execute the game plan] or else we’d lose. I think that motivated all of us. We’re not losing this game, and we got our act together.”
The motivated Titans responded with a dominant second half, running away with a 41-12 victory over the Patriots in a nonleague contest.
San Marino (3-1 overall record) extended its winning streak to three and will host Bell Gardens in a nonleague game this Friday at 7 p.m.
“The win feels amazing,” said defensive lineman Aloisio Figueira, who recorded a sack against Viewpoint. “I want more. I don’t want to have another loss. I want to keep going and keep that streak going. That’s what we strive for as seniors. We want to have the best senior year we can.”
Explosive Second Half
It truly was a tale of two halves for San Marino and Cabot. The senior quarterback threw two interceptions in the first half that kept Viewpoint within striking distance but came out of the halftime break with more confidence.
After the SMHS defense forced a three and out, Cabot guided the home team to a five-play, 81-yard scoring drive capped by a 6-yard quarterback keeper that gave the Titans a 20-9 lead with 6:16 remaining in the third.
“Offensively, we started off real slow,” Cabot said. “Two picks are unacceptable. We missed some assignments, but our defense stepped up, which is huge. We can’t start out games like that, that’s the bottom line. In the second half, once we figured out to get the ball rolling, it’s hard to stop our offense.”
Viewpoint kicker Ari Brozky cut San Marino’s lead with a 22-yard field goal on the ensuing drive, which was also the last time the Patriots entered the red zone.
Cabot helped his team pull away in the fourth quarter with a 51-yard touchdown run, weaving his way past linebackers and stiff-arming a defensive back en route to the end zone.
“I didn’t know I had a stiff-arm,” Cabot said. “When I stiff-armed the corner, I thought, did I just do that? It was because of the great blocking. The offensive line really opened it up. When you have your receivers blocking downfield and linemen opening up a hole the size of a car, it’s easy to run.”
After a defensive stop, Hobbie decided to keep the ball on the ground and give other players a chance of making a big play. San Marino extended its lead to 34-12 with a 42-yard touchdown run from his grandson Beau with 5:55 remaining in the game.
“It’s how we design it,” Hobbie said. “Blake’s got some speed out in the open field, and we have Beau sprinkled in with a few other guys run on the outside. Blake goes inside with his bigger body. It’s an option run, and Blake made good decisions in the second half.”
Cabot showcased that strength on the Titans’ next possession. After Jacob Leftwich recovered a fumble, San Marino’s senior quarterback powered his way into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown, dragging as many as three defenders with him to extend the Titans’ lead to 41-12 with 5:37 remaining in the game.
“The offense was a bit slow up front and came out a little hesitant, but after everyone started stepping it up, the seniors started to come up and hype everyone up,” Figueira said. “At a certain point, Blake took initiative and started to get the offense moving.”
Cabot completed 10 of 19 passes for 119 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for 145 yards and three scores.
Sean Richardson caught two passes for 68 yards and a touchdown, and Leftwich finished with three catches for 34 yards and one touchdown. Beau Hobbie hauled in four passes for 10 yards, and Dereck Gerhardt caught a 7-yard pass.
Beau Hobbie led all rushers with 156 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, and Richardson added 19 yards. Leftwich had two carries for 8 yards and a score.
Hobbie was pleased with the offense’s second-half performance but wants to see the group more consistent and balanced.
“Our offense was not executing [in the first half],” Hobbie said. “We went into halftime and showed them replays. They may see something they think they see out there, but then they see it on video and it’s different. All we have to do is execute, and I think we have a good system around the talent we got. We really have to shore up pass blocking. Pass protection was not very good, but our run blocking was consistent tonight.”
As San Marino’s offense continues to come into its own, the defense has been a consistent force during the three-game winning streak.
The Titans have allowed only 32 points in the past three contests and limited Viewpoint to 204 yards of total offense. The Patriots managed only 20 yards on the ground on 26 attempts.
“The good thing about it is, first and foremost, they played hard,” Hobbie said of his defensive unit. “Second thing is they played according to assignment. They were sound. They made good tackles tonight. They probably tackled better tonight than all season. That quarterback is very shifty and he has good receivers, but our guys did a good job of staying with them for the most part.”
Junior defensive back Chris Wicke echoed his coach’s thoughts about the defense, saying it’s all about “assignments. If we stick to what we do and do it well, we can’t be beat. We’ve been getting a lot of turnovers and it’s hyping us up, driving us to be a lockdown defense.”
Creating a Brotherhood
After opening the season with a loss, the San Marino football team made it a goal to not go through that again, especially the seniors. They know the feeling of defeat all too well after going through a 5-6 season last year.
“We want to be better than we were last year,” said Figueira. “We have a lot of seniors who were on the team last year and we didn’t like it. We don’t want to be like that. We want to push like the 2015 team that reached [the CIF state championship game].”
The seniors held themselves accountable for the loss, and made an effort to start building chemistry with the younger players on the team.
“The younger guys are really stepping up for us,” Figueira said. “We were having a lot more team bonding to get to know the sophomores and juniors. It was rough in the first game because they were hesitant. It’s intense under the Friday night lights, and there are big changes from JV to varsity, but they started to step up by not ducking their heads. They wanted to hit players.”
Cabot and Hobbie are the main sparks on offense with their big-play abilities, but it truly is a team effort on the defensive side. Different players step up every week, and Wicke credits the senior leadership for revving up their teammates.
“They really are great,” Wicke said. “We got Greyson [Garcia], Jack [Hornberger] and Alo [Figueira]. They really are all great guys, and that really helps us.”
As one of the captains, Cabot is aware that players look up to him. He celebrated the win with his friends and teammates but reminded them that come Monday, it’s back to business.
“It’s obviously great to get this wins but that’s behind us,” he said. “Now it’s on to Bell Gardens. We’re going to enjoy this win and build on what we did correctly. Once we hit Monday’s practice, it’s a new day, a new week.”