NEWMAN — Orestimba quarterback Jacob Bettencourt is the first two-time recipient of the Panelli Passing Academy Top Gun Award, presented by Golden Bear Physical Therapy.
Bettencourt shined in last week’s 55-6 victory over Mariposa to start Southern League play, earning the small-school honor for the second time in three weeks. He completed 80 percent of his passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns, including a 60-yard scoring strike to favorite target Tyler Vargas.
Dogged by double teams, Vargas had just two catches for 68 yards. Jacob Dominguez picked up the slack, reeling in five catches for a season-high 143 yards and a touchdown. Dominguez missed most of last season with a broken arm.
“We’re blessed to have a handful of good receivers. Everyone knows about Tyler Vargas and he’s amazing, but Jacob Dominguez is a three-sport athlete who broke his arm in the third play of the season last year and he keeps making big plays for us every Friday night,” Orestimba coach Aaron Souza said of Dominguez, an all-league performer in basketball and baseball. “Mariposa doubled Vargas all night and we seized the opportunity.”
The Warriors (3-1, 1-0) have won three of their first four games and rebounded from a shootout loss to Golden Sierra on Aug. 31. In that game, Orestimba surrendered a lead with 5 minutes left, suffering its first regular-season loss since the 2016 opener.
“We lost a good football game. Our kids were very upset after that game,” Souza said. “For the senior class that was only their fourth loss in high school; the junior their third. We’ve had our best practices since then.”
A bye week settled the Warriors, but didn’t cool off Bettencourt, fast becoming one of the program’s all-time greats. He has thrown for at least 200 yards in six consecutive games dating back to last season. On Friday, Bettencourt eclipsed the 200-yard mark on his fewest throws of the season, completing eight of his 10 attempts. He also had five carries for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
“Bettencourt took it upon himself to play better,” Souza said. “It wasn’t just the way he played, but the way he commanded the huddle and took control of the team.”
For the season, Bettencourt has thrown for 948 yards and nine touchdowns against just four interceptions. He is ninth in the Sac-Joaquin Section in passing yards.
Orestimba travels to Le Grand (1-3, 0-1) on Friday.
Follow James Burns on Twitter @jburns1980, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.