Pacifica sails past Cypress behind improved offense


GARDEN GROVE – - Vinnie Lopez’s first year as Pacifica’s football coach has been a transformative one for the team’s offense.

The Mariners’ offense is producing three times as many points as it did a year ago, and it’s translated to Pacifica’s best start since 2007.

The connection of Nick Garcia to Matt Moslenko propelled the Mariners past Cypress, 35-10, Thursday night in their Empire League opener at Bolsa Grande High.

Garcia hooked up with Moslenko for 146 of his 200 passing yards, including a pair of touchdowns. The Mariners’ quarterback added 81 rushing yards.

Pacifica (5-1, 1-0) is averaging 42.5 points per game, up from 14.6 in 2014.

“We definitely understood that teams are going to try to stop the run because we’ve been very successful with the run,” Garcia said. “When we see they’re trying to creep up, that’s when we beat them over the top.”

The Mariners were ready to go from the opening kickoff, which Matthew Estrada returned 81 yards for the game’s opening score. Pacifica built a 21-0 lead in the first quarter behind a 27-yard receiving score by Moslenko and a 25-yard rushing touchdown by Marcus Tolbert.

Pacifica’s defense, led by Brendan O’Connell (3 sacks) and Jake Eckert (2 sacks), kept Cypress off the scoreboard until the final drive of the first half.

Following a second consecutive fourth-down stop by its defense, Cypress (2-4, 0-1) got the ball with 1:34 left in the second quarter. Alex Ashcraft engineered a 74-yard drive, ending it with a 15-yard touchdown to tight end Benny Morales, who bounced off a defender at the 2-yard line before extending across the goal-line with 2 seconds remaining.

Trent Hunter added a rushing score in the third quarter to re-establish Pacifica’s comfortable three-possession lead.

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