FAIRFIELD — You know it’s your night when you score two touchdowns to open the second half without benefit of an offensive play.
Especially after your quarterback has already thrown for 234 yards and four touchdowns.
For the Justin-Siena High football team, it all added up to a 40-7 victory over Armijo at Brownlee Field on Friday night.
The visiting Braves (3-0) scored on their first possession, using a screen pass from Hudson Beers to Noah Young that turned into a 25-yard gain and moved the ball to the Armijo 24-yard line.
One play later, Beers hit Miles Williams with a 23-yard touchdown pass to put Justin-Siena ahead to stay with 7:49 to go in the first quarter, capping a five-play, 43-yard drive.
The Braves’ second TD didn’t take nearly as long. After holding Armijo (0-3) to a second straight three-and-out, Hudson moved up in the pocket and threw a strike to Solomone Anitoni for a 59-yard score.
Anitoni’s conversion attempt was no good – although he would have plenty go right on the evening – keeping the score 13-0 with 5:56 remaining in the opening quarter.
“It helps a lot,” Beers said of the early scoring outburst, “because we’re not really known for being a fast-start team. So to start fast like that definitely helps a lot.”
It stayed 13-0 until Justin-Siena’s second possession of the second quarter, when Beers hit Williams over the middle for a 66-yard touchdown on a third-and-10 play.
The Braves ran in the conversion after a botched snap on a point-after attempt, but a penalty wiped out the play to keep it 19-0.
Justin-Siena struck quickly on its next possession, Beers connecting with Anitoni for a 31-yard touchdown on the second play. The latter booted the second of his four conversions to make the score 26-0 at halftime.
“Our O-line gave me tons of time and I have receivers who make me look good,” said Beers, who finished the half 6-of-11 for 234 yards and four TDs. “Being a junior quarterback, it’s not always easy. But I have playmakers around me and it helps.”
Braves head coach Brandon LaRocco liked the work of those playmakers as well.
“We like our speed and we like to take shots ... so we’re going to take our shots when we can,” he said. “Our quarterback throws a good deep ball. That’s probably his best pass. That’s who we are.”
As bad as it had gone for Armijo in the first half, when it was outgained 254-37, things went south in a hurry to start the second.
Anitoni took the second-half kickoff on a bounce at the 5-yard line, sprinted across the field, cut right, and raced down the visiting side line for a 95-yard touchdown return.
You have free articles remaining.
The Indians’ ensuing possession showed promise as a 43-yard pass from Justin Duff to Jeremiah Newton moved the ball to the Braves’ 18. It ended in disaster two plays later, however, as Williams made a leaping interception at the 14 and dashed down the sideline for an 86-yard touchdown.
Anitoni’s final conversion kick made it 40-0 a little more than two minutes into the third quarter.
The Indians finally got on the board late in the third quarter thanks to their only third-down conversion of the night; they were 1-for-13 in that department.
Duff hit Dominic Singleton over the middle and the latter made several nifty moves and eventually carried defenders down to the Justin-Siena 4. Two plays later, Blake Espino used second effort to bull his way up the middle into the end zone from a yard out.
Brandon Ascher’s kick made the score 40-7 with 44 seconds left in the third period and was the last scoring of the night.
Beers wound up 9-of-17 for 256 yards, with Williams making three catches for 119 yards and Anitoni two receptions for 90 yards.
About the only negative on the night for the Braves was being penalized 17 times for 155 yards.
Duff was 6-of-19 for 118 yards and three interceptions. Espino led the Indians in rushing with 42 yard, while Marcel McCarther had 41.
The Braves host Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco next Friday, while Armijo visit Napa at Memorial Stadium.
Justin-Siena JV 24, Armijo 6
Zachary Zurowski completed 8 of 10 passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns. The scoring tosses were 36 yards to Eric Gutierrez in the first quarter, and 32 yards to Aidan Cushing and 39 to Gutierrez in the second.
Joseph Maciel booted two conversions, Zurowski threw a 2-point conversion pass to Cushing, and the defense recorded a safety.
Gutierrez caught three passes for 75 yards, while Cushing had two catches for 64.
“Our defense played very good,” Braves JV coach Dennis Fechter said. “Our defense was outstanding.”
Holden Beers completed two passes 12 yards. Also with catches were Tim Walsh (three for 15 yards), Cole Chatagnier (one for 8) and Nick Andrews (one for 6). Leading the Braves' rushers were Cooper Cohee (11 carries for 28 yards), Andrews (four for 12) and Chatagnier (two for 5).
Paul Farmer is the sports editor of the Daily Republic in Fairfield.