El Camino lost their fourth game of the season Friday, losing to their host, the Harvard-Westlake Wolverines, 62-29. The Conquistadores had difficulty stopping a fast Wolverines team, often finding themselves chasing the home team’s stars towards the end zone.
El Camino, plagued by penalties early on in their last two games did a good job limiting them throughout the game, having less than five in the first half compared to the 13 they had called against them in the first half of their loss to Agoura.
Penalties, while less of a factor, did help keep the Wolverines rolling early on, and ultimately allowed them to put the Conquistadores away early on.
The Conquistadores came out of last week’s matchup with questions surrounding the quarterback position. While senior Stav Graziani started the first two games for the Conquistadores, junior Kobe White started against Agoura before giving way to Graziani to start the second quarter. But upon entering the game down 10, Graziani led the team down the field for a field goal, but left the drive with an apparent hand injury, allowing third-string quarterback and safety Giovanny Navarro to take the helm.
In his first appearance as quarterback in his El Camino career, he gave the Conquistadores a chance to win.
His strong showing against Agoura led him to get the call to start against the Wolverines. While he looked rushed out of the pocket by a quick Wolverine linebacker group, Navarro finished 8 for 16 with 118 yards in the first half, hitting senior tight end Jake Bradley three times, all for more than 10 yards.
Bradley, who was named an All-City tight end last season, finished the game with five catches for 113 yards and looks to add strength to an already skilled Conquistador receiving corps.
But Navarro was not the only quarterback to connect with Bradley. After Navarro failed to lead the Conquistadores offense to points in the second quarter, allowing the score to balloon from 27-7 after the first quarter to 48-7 at halftime, the Conquistadores made the switch back to Graziani.
While the top quarterback on the depth chart may have been aided by some of Harvard-Westlake’s top players coming out, like USC-commit and two-way player senior Liam Douglass, he still moved the offense, finishing 8 for 17 for 87 yards with a touchdown and a two-point conversion as well as four rushes.
“We had some players step up at halftime and get us motivated to play a bit better in the second half,” senior kicker and punter Jake Amigo said.
Graziani’s ability to scramble, even if it wasn’t to the same level as the Wolverine’s quarterback Jameson Wang, who had four rushing touchdowns in the game, gave him an edge and added some depth to the Conquistadores offense that Navarro did not.
Besides Bradley and the quarterbacks, seniors ruled the offense as they have been doing since the loss to Venice. Running backs Darrien Green and Jake Sebek each had touchdowns, with Green cementing himself as the team’s lead back by scoring a touchdown and rushing for 70 yards on 14 carries against the Wolverine’s starting defense in the first half.
Senior receiver Tyjai Fulford showed his skill in open space against fast Harvard-Westlake secondary, scoring a second-half touchdown for the Conquistadores. Fulford also set up a kickoff return for a touchdown in the second half. Fielding the ball at around the ten yard line, he reversed field before handing the ball of on a reverse to junior Alonzo Gutierrez, who took it all the way down the El Camino sideline for a touchdown, breaking a tackle around the 50 before going untouched into the end zone.
After dropping their first four games, the Conquistadores will play the underdog once more, as they take on a top-50 team in California, the Calabasas Coyotes on Sept. 27.
The Coyotes defeated El Camino last season at Calabasas, and will come into El Camino heavily favored.