The Agoura football team returned to Frank Greminger Stadium last Friday night after five weeks without a home game. Despite a good effort, the Chargers lost to Thousand Oaks, 33-20.
Agoura was hampered by a thinned-out linebacker core, as Tristram Gillette, who had been sick during the week and couldn’t practice most of it, didn’t play. The Chargers were already without Bryan Hochberg and Luke Pedroza.
As a result, a very good running back was able to exploit the Agoura defense and have a great – if not remarkable – game.
“What can I say,” said Agoura head coach Charlie Wegher. “The story of the game was Debeikes.”
Nathan Debeikes, the Lancers’ senior running back, who will be playing at Brigham Young University next year, ran for 283 yards on 22 carries and scored four touchdowns.
“If we could have contained him a little better, I think we had a much better shot,” said Wegher.
Thousand Oaks scored on a sustained drive to begin the game and set the tone for the game. Agoura (now 2-6 overall and 0-3 in the Marmonte League West) simply didn’t have the ball enough of the time.
“It would have been nice to have a few more possessions,” Wegher said. “That would have been critical.”
Agoura was down 14-7 at halftime. The Chargers had a touchdown that would have tied the score at 14, but it was called back by a holding penalty.
After that, Thousand Oaks (5-4, 2-2), which still has hopes for a playoff berth, realized it could play its ace – Debeikes – and win the hand.
“Mike wanted to throw the ball and mix it up in the first part of the game and then after halftime he realized he didn’t have to do that,” said Wegher, of Lancers’ head coach Mike Leibin. “That’s when they started really just givng (Debeikes) the ball.”
Clark Aboursik, Thousand Oaks’ senior quarterback, was nonetheless incredibly efficient when he did throw the ball, completing 16 of 20 passes for 126 yards.
The Agoura quarterback tandem of Richard Poutier and Jack Barmasse also played well and kept the Chargers competitive in the game.
“We were able to move the ball this week,” Wegher said. “Richard did well and Jack had a nice drive for a touchdown.”
Barmasse, a junior, did not start, but after he replaced Poutier, he led Agoura on an 88-yard second-quarter drive to close the Chargers’ deficit at the time to 14-7.
In the third quarter, Poutier, back in the game, led Agoura on a 92-yard scoring drive to cut the Lancers' lead to 20-14. Poutier scored the touchdown himself on an impressive 30-yard quarterback keeper.
Poutier completed 15 of 26 passes for 126 yards (the Agoura stats are from the Ventura County Star). He had 92 yards on 11 carries.
But the Lancers responded to Poutier’s TD run with two TDs of their own, both on runs by Debeikes. The first was a 24-yard run, the latter, a 68-yard run which made the score 33-14.
“Our problem was we just couldn’t tackle Debekies,” Wegher said. “We made him look pretty good. Not to take anything away from him. He’s a great player, but we just didn’t tackle well and part of it was that we were down some linebackers.
“They were able to run at will and we weren’t able to get enough stops.”
Poutier, a senior, connected for a 7-yard TD strike to Agoura senior wide receiver Shawn Kagan to close out the scoring late in the fourth quarter.
Nick Julier, who had a big interception in Thousand Oaks’ win over Calabasas the week before, made another fourth quarter pick that influenced the outcome of the game. With the Lancers ahead, 26-14, he intercepted a Poutier pass midway throught the final period.
The Chargers’ coach said his team was, understandably, a little down during Saturday morning’s film session
“They were a little disappointed because we really thought we had a pretty good shot at them,” Wegher said. “The kids believed it. We (the coaches) believed it.”
Wegher noted that despite his diluted linebacker depth against Thousand Oaks, the players who filled in, Jeremy Breddan and Zac Miller, who also played last week against Moorpark, performed admirably.
Both Breddan and Miller are juniors and Miller, usually a defensive end, had to switch positions on short notice. He is listed at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds on the Agoura roster. Breddan, who also plays running back, is 5-foot-7, 140.
“Jeremy played hard and made some plays,” said Wegher. He noted that Gillette will play this Friday night at Agoura’s homecoming against Calabasas and that Pedroza, who hurt his shoulder against Moorpark, is hopeful to play.
(Read the preview on the big inter-district rivalry game between Calabasas and Agoura here on Friday).