HAYWARD — Serra coach Patrick Walsh was in a gambling mood late in the first half.
Faced with a fourth-and-one situation on the Padres' 32-yard line, Walsh rolled the dice and came up big as quarterback Anthony Smock connected with Brandon Monroe on a slant pattern. Monroe did the rest as he broke a tackle and ran away from the Buhach Colony defense for a 68-yard touchdown that gave Serra a two-score lead with just over 4 minutes left in the second quarter.
The Thunder never recovered as the Padres cruised to a 48-15 victory at Chabot College on Thursday night.
"That took the breath out of us," said Buhach Colony two-way player Justin Stefani. "I don't think we ever stopped playing. We just never regrouped."
For 20 minutes Buhach Colony (2-3) played toe-to-toe against a Serra squad that led De La Salle in the second half of its season opener before falling 21-14 to one of the premiere programs in the nation.
The Thunder came out swinging early as they marched 76 yards on 10 plays in their opening drive for a touchdown. Aided by a 17-yard run by Stephon Eastman and a 36-yard run by Quintin Levesque, the Thunder quickly moved into scoring position. Stefani capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
The Buhach Colony defense had success early as well as it turned away the Padres opening drive at the Thunder 9-yard line on an incomplete pass on fourth down.
The Buhach Colony special teams even came up with a fumble recovery on a Serra punt return after the Thunder offense stalled on their next possession.
However, Buhach Colony's offense couldn't turn the turnovers into points. The Serra defense made some adjustments and the Padres offense got on track.
Smock completed 8 of 15 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
Smock threw a swing pass to running back Kava Cassidy who turned the short pass into a 41-yard touchdown to pull the Padres within 7-6 after the extra-point attempt was blocked by the Thunder's Tony Padilla.
It was the start of a big night for Cassidy, who found the end zone twice on the ground. His 1-yard touchdown gave Serra (2-1) a 14-7 lead with 5:51 left in the second quarter.
Cassidy finished with 178 yards on 14 carries.
"We looked good for a while," said Buhach co-head coach Kevin Swartwood. "Our kids played hard out of the chute. Then we had a couple things go wrong and that's the sign of a young team. We had a couple things go wrong and we didn't know how to respond."
The Padres ran at will on the Thunder in the second half to the tune of 213 yards, including a pair of touchdown runs by Kevin McGee.
Buhach Colony moved the ball effectively on the ground with Stefani (85 rushing yards and two touchdowns), Levesque (121 yards) and Andre Sherman (79 yards).
The Thunder passing game was ineffective as they completed just one of 12 passes for 5 yards.
"I think (Serra) just out physicalled us," Stefani said. "We weren't ready for their physicality. We knew about it. We just weren't ready for it."
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at (209) 385-2462 or firstname.lastname@example.org.