TEMECULA — The San Bernardino Cajon High football team was fast Friday night. The Cowboys looked even faster as their counterparts from Chaparral seemed to be stuck in neutral.
Senior running back Damontae Kazee rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns as Cajon stayed a step ahead of host Chaparral for most of the game en route to a 30-14 nonleague victory in both teams' season opener.
Cajon — using multiple formations on offense, including Kazee running and passing out of an effective wildcat formation — racked up 418 yards, including 264 rushing on 46 carries. Kazee's brother, Deontrae, added 92 yards on 17 carries.
All this while Chaparral struggled to just 111 yards overall.
"Obviously, we expected to be a little more effective than we were," Pumas first-year coach Ryan Tukua said. "We also had a problem with bad snaps — seven of them, actually. It's hard to get into a rhythm when you do that."
And that seemed to snowball from the start in the passing game, as Chaparral senior quarterback Matt Morin — recently committed to San Diego State — completed just 3 of 12 passes for 15 yards with an interception.
Cajon, after briefly trailing, surged to leads of 13-7 and 20-14 at halftime. The Cowboys' defense held the Pumas scoreless in the second half, and their offense salted the game away on Damontae Kazee's second touchdown run of 43 yards with 2:47 remaining.
Cajon ran 72 plays to Chaparral's 39.
It was not the debut Tukua wanted with the program little more than 20 months removed from winning a CIF Southern Section championship over Vista Murrieta in 2009.
"We've got to go and evaluate our team and see what the best solution is, and what's the best way to get us back on track," Tukua said.
The Cowboys, ranked third in the CIF Southern Section Central Division preseason poll, rolled thanks to Kazee's first touchdown run and two first-half TD passes from senior quarterback Edwin Martinez to tight end Taylor Moore.
But what set those scores up was Cajon's diversity, as the offense shifted from option to wildcat and back multiple times. Clearly, that caught the Pumas by surprise.
"The wildcat — we really didn't see it on film," Pumas linebacker Joe Robinson said. "It kind of bit us in the butt a little bit."
Chaparral did rally late in the second half, cutting the lead to six points when Skyler Seibold capped a six-play, 52-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring run. But those were the Pumas' last points.
"I respect them and they're a great team," Martinez said of Chaparral. "They have great athletes and great coaches. But we came to play."