Venice High running back Teondray Caldwell rushed for 290 yards on 20 carries and was accountable for all of the team’s seven touchdowns as the Gondoliers cruised past Harvard-Westlake on Friday, 47-16.
Gondolier quarterback Dean Sarabia threw for 273 yards and two interceptions in the season opener on the road. The Gondolier offense amassed nearly 600 yards, which included two 80-yard touchdowns and a 60-yard touchdown from Caldwell.
“He tore it up,” said coach Angelo Gasca. “He’s a three-year varsity starter, but of course I’m surprised by the numbers. I don’t expect one player to dominate statistics like that.”
Up 21-3 at the half, the Gondoliers surrendered a touchdown at the beginning of the second half before Caldwell went to work and Venice added unanswered 20 points to the scoreboard.
Gasca was pleased with Serabia’s play, noting he “had a couple big throws.” Receiver Gabe Marks was off to a great start as well, before leaving the game with a pulled muscle, Gasca said. Other receivers also stepped up, with Frank Murray catching three passes for 103 yards and Deontay Banks with three passes for 88 yards.
The Gondolier defense “showed a lot of speed” and an ability to stop the run, Gasca said. “Our secondary was just okay but the front seven was pretty good.”
Although Venice seemed to dominate the game, Gasca said he believes the team can be even better.
“I told our team it’s amazing that we can score that many points and win by such a large margin and still have room for improvement,” he said. “You have to be critical of yourself when you’re successful. I told that to our team – not to be mean or to take away from the victory. We’re talented team but I can’t say we’re a good team. I think we’ll get there.”
The Gondoliers next game, Friday at West Covina, should be tougher, the coach said.
“I think West Covina will be tougher,” Gasca said. “I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I think West Covina has some familiarity with us. They run the Wing-T, it’s a little hard for us to defend.
“I think we have a good chance this week,” he said.