Sprinter’s speed. Hurdler’s spring. Hooper’s length.
He may not have the scholarship offers, like many of his teammates, but Tommy Alfaro fits right in with the rest of Pacifica High football team’s glittering array of talent.
“Tommy’s elite,” Pacifica head coach Mike Moon said.
The Tritons’ 6-foot-1 receiver proved it again Friday night, when he tied the school record for touchdown catches in a game in a 49-0 win over host Ventura at Turner Field.
All he did was catch touchdowns. Alfaro caught four passes for 104 yards worth of scores as first-place Pacifica improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the Channel League.
Alfaro’s four TD catches tied the school record set by Deondre Vines against Rio Mesa in 2014.
Three seasons of competing with Pacifica’s first-team secondary, which is full of Division I talent, prepared him for the occasion.
“Practicing against them made me so much better,” Alfaro said. “Playing with Maliki (Crawford), Josh (Joyner), Dayday (Aupiu), they’re the best of the best. I can’t get any better work anywhere else.”
When you tie a school record with four TD catches like Pacifica senior Tommy Alfaro did tonight, you get asked which was your favorite. No. 19 had his answer ready. @Tommyalfaro11 @TritonsFootball @PHStritons @mikemoon42 https://t.co/vNTDjtuEgS pic.twitter.com/m283oXVugK
— VCS Preps (@vcspreps) September 24, 2022
The Cougars could understand. Ventura (3-3, 2-2) struggled to consistently move the ball, mustering just 14 yards of total offense in the first half.
“We’ve gotten a lot better defensively,” Moon said. “We kind of challenged them since the (St. Bonaventure) game.”
Pacifica has allowed less than 10 points per game since suffering its lone loss, 46-41 at St. Bonaventure, on Aug. 26.
“I’m just proud of how much better the defense has been playing,” Moon said.
The only time Ventura was able to move the chains on its first seven possessions came on a fake punt midway through the second quarter.
“We succeeded as a defense coming down to the ball, 11 hats to the ball and DBs making plays,” said Aupiu, who returned an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Junior running back Josh Joyner had 175 yards from scrimmage, including six catches for 128 yards and a touchdown, sophomore receiver Savion Taylor had four catches for 73 yards, and junior running back Philip Kim rushed for 76 yards on 16 carries.
Both Pacifica quarterbacks continued to excel.
“Overall, they’re just gunslingers,” Alfaro said. “They throw that rock.”
Starter Tagg Harrison completed 12 of 14 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns. Backup Dominic Duran completed 5 of 6 attempts for 85 yards and a score.
“The team kind of rallies around both of them,” Moon said. “The cool thing is this team has bought into winning as a team and playing as a team.”
Pacifica took the opening kickoff and drove 65 yards in seven plays, taking a 7-0 lead on Harrison’s 20-yard TD pass to Josh Joyner.
It doubled the lead four minutes later on Harrison’s 20-yard TD pass to Alfaro, which was set up by Joyner’s 40-yard catch and run.
Ventura briefly found its feet, when Mylan Walker’s third-down sack forced a Pacifica punt, which was snapped for a loss to the Pacifica 15.
But the Cougars couldn’t take advantage. Three incompletions and a missed field goal followed.
Pacifica built a 21-0 halftime lead with an eight-play, 75-yard drive, which was finished by Kim’s 5-yard TD run.
Pacifica goes 75 yards in 8 plays to extend its lead. Philip Kim’s 5-yard TD run was set up by Dominic Duran’s 28-yard strike to Savion Taylor and Josh Joyner’s 16-yard run.
21-0 PHS 5:32 Q2 @VenturaFootball @vhs_cougars@PHStritons @TritonsFootball https://t.co/8dMtS8snZk pic.twitter.com/DD4D7OgS1M
— VCS Preps (@vcspreps) September 24, 2022
It put the game away with a five-play, 80-yard drive on its first possession of the second half. Harrison’s 26-yard strike to Alfaro made it 28-0 with 9:52 left in the third quarter.
To that point, Ventura hadn’t earned a first down, besides the fake punt midway through the second quarter.
The Cougars followed with their best drive of the night. But the 17-play march ended with a goal-line interception by Pacifica cornerback Jesse Taylor Jr. with 1:38 left in the third quarter.
Two plays later, Harrison hit Alfaro down the sideline and the receiver ducked inside the coverage for a 54-yard TD and a 35-0 lead.
“They couldn’t catch me,” Alfaro said.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Pacifica safety Aupiu successfully diagnosed Ventura’s run-pass-option play. The result was a 25-yard interception return for a score.
“I just drove the slant because they ran it a couple times earlier in the game and got a pick-6,” Aupiu said.
After Ventura fumbled away the subsequent kickoff, Pacifica pushed the lead to 49-0 on Duran’s 17-yard TD strike to Alfaro.
Pacifica visits Channel Islands this Friday. Ventura hosts San Marcos.
Joe Curley covers high school, collegiate and professional football for The Star. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more coverage of local high school sports, follow @vcspreps on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Alfaro ties school record as Pacifica rolls over Ventura