The defenses for both the Peninsula and Redondo high school football teams quickly turned Friday’s season-opener into a slugfest.
Yards weren’t easy to come by and the same held true for points as the teams walked off the field with just one touchdown scored between them.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, nursing a 10-7 lead, Redondo pulled out one final defensive haymaker as senior linebacker Preston Arenbart intercepted a pass with Peninsula driving for the potential go-ahead score.
Arenbart’s heroics helped preserved the Bay League victory for the Sea Hawks.
“I was following my guy (Peninsula’s wide receiver) and he ran a slant. Quarterback kept scrambling and he kind of threw it right to me,” Arenbart said. “It’s good to be playing. We were just happy to be playing, fun to be out here playing with my teammates.”
Redondo opened the scoring in the second quarter on Darryl West’s 4-yard score and the Sea Hawks added three points on their first possession of the second half with Robert Baker’s 32-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
For Peninsula, it took a while before it was able to find some solid footing on offense. On its second possession of the fourth quarter, quarterback Joe Rhodes took a roughing the passer penalty on fourth down and on the next two plays hooked up with Kyle Krafick for a 13-yard gain and Joey Skoblar for an eight-yard gain to the 1. From there Brett MacGowan did the scoring, leaving Redondo ahead 10-7.
The Panther defense did its job on the next series, forcing a quick 3-and-out, giving the offense a chance with 2:20 remaining. The Panthers took over on their own 41 and within five plays, they were inside the 20, but a holding penalty moved them back and then came Arenbart’s interception to seal the game.
“We played well enough to win a football game. Our offense obviously just didn’t give us enough support,” Peninsula coach David Young said. “That’s going to come, as a result of us being off and just not being in a rhythm. Defense is always easier. We have a group of guys we believe in on defense and I thought, we came away with a turnover, had a bunch of tackle for losses that really put us in a good position.
“Defensively, I thought we were good. There still some areas we need to improve on, of course.”
Krafick and Grant Zane had interceptions for the Panthers. MacGowan and Caleb Chang had a pair of sacks apiece.
“It was a competitive game, something to build on,” Redondo coach Matt Ballard said. “I thought we looked good at times, but we were making first-game mistakes, but the kids were resilient.
“We got to a point where we were changing gears and going OK, we’re prepping for next year. We kept our eyes on if this happens, maybe we can get this … We kept doing team things. We never got to a point where seniors were checking out or anything, which I know is common, I think they were really optimistic. We kept everything going and got lucky.”
Redondo will move on next week to face Culver City on Friday, March 26. Peninsula will also be on the road against Santa Monica.