Keilan Benjamin threw for 265 yards and Adarius Pickett blocked a field goal and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown to lead El Cerrito High's football team to a 35-7 win over host Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa on Saturday night.

The Gauchos (2-1) outplayed the Cardinals (2-1) all night, but the score was tied 7-7 at halftime thanks to some tough defense by Cardinal Newman and some missed opportunities for El Cerrito.

"Second half just came down to execution," Benjamin said. "I played bad myself in the first half and stepped it up in the second half."

It should be noted that Benjamin threw for 171 yards in the first half and was victimized by at least four drops by his receivers in the first two quarters.

The Gauchos outgained the Cardinals 456-186 and recorded 22 first downs to eight for the hosts. However, when Benjamin hit Jalen Harvey on a 64-yard bomb with 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, El Cerrito had its first lead of the night at 14-7.

Justus Smith recovered a fumble by Kevin Lucey on the ensuing kickoff, but the Gauchos' ensuing drive ended when Benjamin was intercepted in the end zone by Kacey Mansen. It looked as if El Cerrito's first half troubles were continuing.

The Cardinals then drove almost the length of the field, finally settling for a 32-yard field goal attempt by Trent Klein. However, Pickett burst through on the left side and blocked the kick, then scooped up the ball and ran for the game-turning touchdown.

"I told James Houston to go inside and hit No. 6 (Zach Stoltz)," Pickett said. "I said I was going to block the field goal."

Pickett later scored on a 5-yard run.

Kennedy-Fremont 49, Arroyo 14: Derek Slater ran for 134 of his game-high 144 yards in the first half and had three touchdowns as the Titans overpowered the Dons at Tak Fudenna Stadium.

Slater helped Kennedy (2-1) to a 13-0 first-quarter lead before the Arroyo (0-3) offense ever took the field. The Titans marched down the field on the opening possession of the game, finishing when Slater reached the end zone on a 25-yard blast on a quick trap. Kennedy recovered the ensuing kickoff, and the Titans scored again four plays later on a Slater 18-yard run just four minutes into the game.

-- Tony Gonsalez, correspondent

Valley Christian-Dublin 39, Kennedy-Richmond 0: The Vikings were held scoreless by the host Eagles in the first quarter but went on to score 39 unanswered points.

On the first play of the second quarter, Valley Christian running back Vince Volpatti ran 23 yards for a touchdown. He finished the game with 144 yards rushing.

-- Nick Norvell, correspondent

Tennyson 35, Lowell-San Francisco 8: Lancers sophomore quarterback Christian Silva completed all seven of his passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns, both in the first quarter, for Tennyson (1-1).

Those scoring receptions went to Xavier Thibodeaux, who finished with four catches for 187 yards against visiting Lowell (0-2). He also returned a punt 80 yards for a score.

-- Phil Jensen

more football coverage

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