By Jeremy Balan
Visiting Balboa High School dropped its fourth straight non-league game in a 54-19 loss to Sequoia on Friday.
The visiting Bucs (0-4) were competitive through the first three quarters, but Sequoia (3-0-1) scored 27 unanswered points late in the game and sunk any chance of a Balboa upset.
The late Sequoia surge was ignited by a standout performance from junior running back Josh Lauese, who had a game-high 206 yards on only nine carries, often breaking multiple Balboa tackles during long runs.
“He’s just entertaining to watch,” Sequoia head coach Rob Poulos said of Lauese. “Week-to-week he just brings those types of [plays] on offense and defense.”
While the Bucs were roundly outmatched and outsized, a big reason for their late struggles was fatigue. Balboa dressed only 22 players and they were visibly drained after the game.
“Our whole preseason, we haven’t had our whole offensive line,” said Balboa head coach Alvaro Carvajal. “We’ve been battling injuries the whole preseason.”
Sequoia drove at-will for most of the game, racking up 522 yards of total offense, but Balboa stayed close due to five Sequoia turnovers.
“Once we got out of our own way, we were fine,” Poulos said. “That was the frustrating part. I don’t even have words for it.”
The Bucs looked to be in a position to challenge Sequoia early in the third quarter when Balboa senior quarterback Kerati Apilakvanichakit found receiver Andres Arellano over the top of the defense for a 50-yard score, cutting the lead to 21-13.
Arellano had two 50-yard touchdown receptions in the game and finished with 147 yards on four receptions, often simply outrunning the Sequoia secondary.
“We saw an opportunity and he was taking advantage of the guy who was on him,” Carvajal said. “We just let him make a play.”
Another bright spot for Balboa was the play of speedy running back Greg Warren, who had a team-high 110 yards on a season-high 21 carries.
“We wanted to feed him the ball,” Carvajal said. “When he gets the ball, you really see it in his body language, he’s fighting for every yard. I want to reward that and I try to get him the ball as much as I can now.”
Balboa showed flashes of promise and big-play ability against Sequoia, but as a whole, the non-league season for the Bucs was one to forget.
“Our preseason was extremely tough, but that’s how I wanted it,” Carvajal said. “I felt we could have won all of those games in my heart. I really did and I still do. But for whatever reason we’re 0-4 and now the AAA comes. Now we have to buckle down.”
S: 11:19 — Josh Lauese 48-yard run (Matt Jenkins kick)
B: 3:12 — Andres Arellano 50-yard pass from Kerati Apilakvanichakit (Christian Pulusian kick)
S: 9:58 — Brandon Gibson 12-yard run (Jenkins kick)
S: 0:31 — Will Langi 11-yard pass from James Beekley (Jenkins kick)
B: 9:43 — Arellano 50-yard pass from Apilakvanichakit (Pulusian kick missed)
S: 7:40 — Beekley 1-yard run (Jenkins kick blocked)
S: 11:26 — Beekley 38-yard run (Jenkins kick)
S: 7:49 — Beekley 1-yard run (Jenkins kick)
S: 7:11 — Siosiua Vaka 49-yard run (Jenkins kick)
B: 2:48 — Pulusian 6-yard pass from Apilakvanichakit (Conversion failed)
S: 0:43 — Gibson 10-yard pass from Dalton Diaz (Jenkins kick missed)