STOCKTON — The good news? The Brookside Christian High football team forced multiple turnovers and began to find its offensive stride as time went on.
The bad? It all happened far too late to have much effect on Saturday night’s contest held at McNair High.
The Knights’ modest two-game winning streak was broken as visiting Stone Ridge Christian rode a big lead early in the evening to a 34-14 victory.
In the process, Stone Ridge Christian (5-3, 3-1 Central California Athletic Alliance) pulled even with Brookside Christian (5-3, 3-1 CCAA) for second place in league play.
George Carter III connected with Eric Macias for a touchdown pass on the night, and also had a fumble recovery on defense. Michael Knight had a rushing score, and teammate Raife Porter had an interception.
The only issue with those highlights was timing. Brookside Christian couldn’t quite get anything going offensively until after the opening quarter; by then, the Knights were already on the wrong side of a 21-0 score.
“We made some mistakes, and dug ourselves a hole,” said Anthony Robertson, Brookside Christian’s head coach. “It’s hard to come back against a good team.”
The Knights made their way into the red zone near the midpoint of the second quarter. There, a series of penalties and turnovers — on both sides — kept the ball perpetually inside Stone Ridge Christian’s 20-yard line.
Or, at least it seemed that way.
After Brookside Christian forced its second turnover in a matter of minutes, both combatting turnovers made by its own offense, the Knights found the end zone with Carter III’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Macias with three seconds left in the first half.
Brookside's defense played considerably better after the rough opening quarter, allowing a single score in the third, and another in the fourth after fighting bad field position caused by a turnover.
“We knew the keys and the reads, and it took us a little bit to adjust to them,” Robertson said. “Once we got the keys and reads down, we were able to lock it up.”
Knight's score from close range in the third got one back for Brookside Christian. But, as a handful of errors piled up in the second half, the offense sputtered. By game’s end, the Knights faced a 20-point margin on the scoreboard, and flared tempers on their own sideline.
Brookside Christian has a pair of games left in the regular season. It’s a talented group, Robertson said, with a solid game plan. For things to shake out the way the Knights would like, the execution of that plan will be vital.
“We need to shore up our execution. That’s the most important thing,” Robertson said. “I think a lot of times the plays are there, we’re just missing blocks or assignments.
“We have to do the right thing at the right time, and it will take care of itself.”
New coach, new Knights
Entering Saturday’s game, Brookside Christian had already won as many times in seven games as it had the entire 2017 season.
With Robertson in his first season at the helm, the Knights have recorded two shutouts on defense, while averaging 29.1 points per game and 294 rushing yards per contest on the offensive side.
Brookside Christian: The biggest test of Brookside Christian’s season is on deck for Oct. 20, when the Knights host Big Valley Christian. The Lions are 7-1 and 4-0 in the CCAA, and have won five straight.