Sequoia High School head football coach Rob Poulos said there was one thing on his mind heading into Week 2 of the 2013 season.
“I wanted to see if last week was a fluke,” he said. “I wanted to see, are we legit?”
The answer to Poulos’ question was a maybe, at first. After dismantling Fremont 42-14 last week, the Cherokees came out against a tougher Monta Vista squad Friday night and, with the exception of one big play on their second drive, shot themselves in the foot constantly — to the point that they only led 9-7 at the half.
But something got into Sequoia in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter, that turned that “maybe” into a resounding “yes.”
Fueled by five turnovers and 213 yards of offense, the Cherokees scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to speed past the Matadors 40-14. Were it not for a questionable kickoff return for a touchdown by Monta Vista late in the game, the score might have been even more lobsided.
“I don’t think the fourth quarter was much different than the other three quarters,” Poulos said. “That could have happened at any point. The turnovers, it was constant change of momentum. They (Monta Vista) did a great job of controlling the clock in the first half, setting the tone, making their adjustments. We had to make adjustments off of that, which I think put us in better position in the second half.”
While Sequoia outgained Monte Vista 243 to 148 in the first half, 94 of those yards came on a Cameron Greenough touchdown pass on the second drive that gave the Cherokees a 6-0 lead. The Matadors took the lead shortly thereafter, answering with their lone offensive touchdown with 11:51 left in the second quarter.
From there, turnovers and big penalties hurt Sequoia as the Cherokees tried to pull away. They managed a 26-yard field goal with a little more than four minutes left in the half to take a 9-7 into recess.
Mistakes continued into the third quarter — mostly, Sequoia got hit with the fumble bug. But to the Cherokees’ credit, the defense held without causing them more damage. Sequoia added three more points in the third to make it 12-7.
“The idea is, you can’t go back to the past,” Poulos said. “You have to turn the page and move on to the next play. We don’t want to be cavalier about it, but you can’t dwell on it. Dwelling on it is just going to make the next one bad. So, we did a good job of turning the page and giving the guys second opportunities.”
Sequoia made the most of those opportunities because when the fourth quarter buzzer went off, something got into Sequoia and they became a takeaway machine.
The Cherokees used an interception, a fumble, a fumbled kick off return, another kick and still another fumble into 28 fourth-quarter points to completely pull away from Monta Vista. Will Davenport, Greenough, Matt Jenkins and Ivan Ayarza found the end zone for Sequoia.
Sequoia put up 311 yards of offense in the second half alone.