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Strong debut for Lopez, Pacifica's spread offense
GARDEN GROVE – The Vinnie Lopez era at Pacifica started off with an emphatic bang as the Mariners defeated Bellflower, 51-12, Saturday night at Bolsa Grande High.
Pacifica and its new-look spread offense gained 461 yards and constantly overwhelmed the undermanned visitors from the Suburban League.
The Mariners (1-0) opened the scoring by constructing a 14-play, 90-yard drive that ended the same way it began, with running back Marcus Tolbert bulldozing defenders. His 7-yard run with 7:30 left in the first quarter gave Pacifica an early 7-0 lead.
Tolbert finished with 190 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns, all before halftime.
Matthew Estrada doubled the Mariner advantage when he fielded a punt, made a few defenders miss and raced to the end zone for a 58-yard punt return TD that made the score 14-0.
On Bellflower’s next possession, the Buccaneers fumbled a handoff and Pacifica pounced on the loose ball, taking over at the Bellflower 35.
Three plays later, Tolbert scored his second touchdown of the game, this one on a 5-yard run.
Pacifica quarterback Nick Garcia threw for 126 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a score.
Midway through the second quarter, Garcia’s 13-yard touchdown run gave Pacifica a 35-0 lead.
Bellflower got on the scoreboard when quarterback Merrell Jasper threw a short pass to Jalani Smith, who found a seam downfield en route to a 68-yard touchdown reception.
The Buccaneers added another touchdown with 9:08 left in the third quarter when Jasper took a quarterback keeper and scrambled his way to a 74-yard scoring run.
Aundre Purnell caught four passes for 76 yards and two of those catches were for touchdowns as he was Garcia’s preferred target.