The frustration was clear on the face of St. Paul High School quarterback Paul Lopez on Friday.
The junior had just taken part in his second consecutive season-opening loss to Division I power Servite, 41-16, at Cerritos College.
The 25-point differential was only part of what annoyed Lopez. It was the Swordsmens' offense, which had been effective in the first half, being shut out in the second half that was most bothersome.
"(Servite) got smarter in the second half," Lopez said. "They made some good adjustments that really affected me and the offense."
Lopez, who had been sacked twice in the first half, was dropped for a loss five times in the second half. He was hit six other times.
"The second half they decided to put pressure," Lopez said. "They started blitzing at will."
One of the more damaging sacks came early in the second half.
St. Paul trailed 27-14 to start the third quarter and opened with poor field position at its own 16-yard line. After two rushes gained two yards, the Swordsmen opted to pass on third and eight.
That's when Lopez was sacked by Servite defensive end Joshua Gaston. The four-yard loss was magnified after St. Paul's subsequent punt landed out of bounds at the Swordsmen 31.
Seven plays later, Servite extended its lead to 34-14 when senior fullback Willie Matthews scored on a 4-yard run with 6:15 remaining in the quarter.
"That was pretty big because we were close," Lopez said. "If we could have got a score on that drive, who knows what could have happened?"
Lopez finished with 14 completions in 28 attempts for 160 yards and one touchdown (with no interceptions).
"I have to execute better and I have to get faster, that's it," Lopez said. "Some of those plays I either threw too high or too away from my receivers. Most of this loss was my fault."
(562) 698-0955, Ext. 3061