The Lancer

The Lancer

The Lancer

Celebrities catastrophic effect on the environment
Joseph Goodnight, Opinion Editor ♦ March 27, 2024

With our current understanding of the climate crisis, it’s safe to say that everyone is trying to be more sustainable for the sake of the environment,...

Lancer-to-Los Robles volunteer system stays strong
Lancer-to-Los Robles volunteer system stays strong
Kimberly Jerez, The Lancer Staff ♦ March 27, 2024

Los Robles Regional Medical Center benefits from the varied talents and experiences that volunteers offer, ranging from high school students...

Time T.O. Vote
Time T.O. Vote
Kailah Spencer, The Lancer Staff ♦ March 27, 2024

Senior Maya Campo turns 18 in April, and she is ready to make her voice heard this November. As the presidential primary election nears, seniors...

Going Digital: The SAT’s New Normal
Going Digital: The SAT’s New Normal
Kailah Spencer, The Lancer Staff ♦ March 27, 2024

Many Lancers students are familiar with the SAT; a paper test with over a hundred questions of varying difficulty. Now, CVUSD is introducing...

Around the Business Table
Around the Business Table
Julia Pineda-Dominguez, The Lancer Staff ♦ March 27, 2024

The Majors program provides students with the opportunity to speak with mentors in many different careers. The program consists of monthly meetings...

Moreno heads to Washington
Moreno heads to Washington
Aandrea Pineda-Dominguez, News Editor ♦ March 27, 2024

It was finally over. The bell gave its shrieking cry and off went hundreds of students to enjoy their freedom, at least for a moment. For...

TO Acorn With Permission
Lancers lose a forever friend
Jake Bradley, Sports Editor ♦ March 27, 2024

Bill Gemberling has worn many hats at Thousand Oaks High: student, teacher, coach, sports announcer. But taxi driver? “I was one of (Brett...

Unexpected La Reina closure leads to transfers
Abigail Kerns, Assistant News Editor ♦ March 27, 2024

escribing how La Reina families felt upon receiving the news that their school, which opened its doors in 1964, will be closing at the end of...

New MegaMind TV and Movie Sequel Release
New MegaMind TV and Movie Sequel Release
Joseph Goodnight, Opinion Editor ♦ February 20, 2024

In March of this year, Dreamworks is set to release a Peacock exclusive TV show and movie sequel to the beloved 2010 MegaMind movie. The trailer...

In Fastbreak Fashion
Jake Bradley, Sports Editor ♦ February 14, 2024

Lancers lead the way in the second half. The Great Oak Wolfpack came into Thousand Oaks Tuesday night for the CIF quarterfinals and with them...

Perserving in Penalty’s
Jake Bradley, Sports Editor ♦ February 14, 2024

The Lady Lancers traveled to a neutral site in Anaheim to take on the Katella Knights in the second round of the CIF-SS girls soccer playoffs....

Kanye - He's Back at it...or Maybe Not?
Elijah Brown, The Lancer Staff ♦ February 14, 2024

Kanye West's new album “Vultures 1”, many nationwide were skeptical at first about Kanye's new album considering the controversies he has...

It’s Valentine’s, Baby
It’s Valentine’s, Baby
Momo Sonoda, Editor-In-Chief ♦ February 14, 2024

St. Valentine’s Day commemorates the death of St. Valentine, but for others, the holiday marks a day of birth. Junior Chokee Weezer was born...

Health Science Majors Program hosts their senior showcase
Momo Sonoda, Editor-In-Chief ♦ February 12, 2024

Last week, the seniors in Health Science Majors hosted a showcase, featuring various professions that they hope to pursue in the future. At the...

Advancing Again
Jake Bradley, Sports Editor ♦ February 12, 2024

The Lancers left campus during lunch to travel to Temecula for their round two playoff game, and the ride wasn’t enough to stop the Lancers....

TO Football has best finish since ‘15

Lancers win pair of playoff games, advance to CIF semis

Year One under new head football coach Ben McEnroe, did not disappoint, culminating in its deepest playoff run in almost a decade.

The Lancers made it to the CIF semifinals for the first time in eight years, and they only needed to take a quick trip down the road to face the rival Newbury Park Panthers. This was not only the second matchup between the two sides this season, but the second at Panther Stadium.

However, in the weeks following the first matchup on Sept. 22, a 54-42 Newbury Park win, the Lancers were a flawless 4-0 to conclude the regular season, while the Panthers had suffered two losses down the stretch. With rain expected and tensions high in Newbury Park, nobody knew who was going to leave the game as victor. After winning the coin toss, TO elected to kick off, and a Panthers offense led by star sophomore quarterback Brady Smigiel went on to score on their opening drive, taking an early 7-0 lead. The Lancers had a chance to even the score in the first quarter, but they turned it over in the red zone. They avoided disaster by forcing a punt, but the Panthers would open the second quarter with another touchdown, digging a deep hole for TO. But after Lancers sophomore QB Jackson Taylor found his favorite target, senior wideout Silas Kemp, for a 17-yard touchdown, the skies darkened and the game turned on a dime, with TO’s defensive toughness taking center stage.

TO opened the second half strong, with senior Scott Mahannah scoring a 77-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Taylor, cutting the deficit to 14-13 after a missed PAT. The Green Helmet-led defense —anchored by stalwart front seven forces Blake Lauritzen, Dean Harrington and Cory McEnroe forced another huge punt, which led to a Brolin Harrah rushing touchdown that culminated in a failed 2-point conversion, giving the Lancers a 19-14 lead. There would be no more scoring in the remainder of the 3rd quarter, and the Lancers began the fourth quarter with the lead. But the rain stopped, and the passing game favored the Panthers’ once more. Another TO turnover led to the Panthers driving into the end zone before nailing a two-point conversion, taking a 22-19 lead.

And that was it.

Thousand Oaks was unable to score, giving Newbury Park the ball in victory formation. The final score was Newbury Park 22, Thousand Oaks 19, ending the Lancers season.

“Everyone knows the stage, first time we’ve seen each other that deep into the season, obviously emotions were high,” Taylor told The Lancer.

Even getting to the semifinals was a mammoth achievement for the Lancers, who hadn’t reached the semis since 2015.

This season’s playoff berth wasn’t just another playoff opportunity, it was the first time the Lancers hosted a football playoff game since 2015, as well. Fortunately, the Lancers were coming off of a atypical late-season bye week after a four-game winning streak, showing no signs slowing down.

And they didn’t, until late in their first-round matchup with visiting El Modena. Thousand Oaks was able to score two quick touchdowns to open the second half to take a 28-13 lead, but the Vanguards would make it a game late with a pair of fourth-quarter scores, before the Lancers eventually claimed their first home playoff victory in years with a 41-34 win.

“We had some guys step up and make big plays,” Taylor said. “[It was just] great timing for it to all happen for playoffs and we were able to put up so many points,” Taylor said.

A Harrah fourth-quarter touchdown run gave the Lancers a 19-7 lead over Bonita, and even though Bonita scored another touchdown, the Lancers would stay patient and hold off the Bearcats, 19-13, as the Green Hole proceeded to rush the field. The fact that TO was in this position was a surprise after a sluggish start.

After falling to 3-3 on Sept. 22 after the loss to the Panthers, the Lancers were on the outside looking in on the playoff picture, with big league matchups between Moorpark and Agoura still to come.

But the Lancers bounced back from the loss to the Panthers, blowing out Royal and Camarillo in back-to-back weeks, combining for 82 total points over those two games. That would set TO for two tough matchups against the Musketeers and Chargers down the stretch. The Lancers came away from Moorpark with a 36-23 win and a piece of the league championship. Lancers would then
end its regular season on a high note with a 31-7 home victory over Agoura, leading the Lancers into the bye week at 7-3 overall.

“When you hit your stride at the end of the season, you are in position to win championships and make playoff runs, and that is what we did,” head coach Ben McEnroe told The Lancer.

It was quite the first season for McEnroe, the former CLU head coach. After making Lancer history and going 10-0 in the regular season last year before a disappointing early playoff exit, former head coach Evan Yabu left TO for Notre Dame High, but McEnroe was eager to move back to the Conejo Valley and embraced the Lancers coaching job. With a new coach and a new roster, the Lancers only showed improvement early as a tough schedule looked like nothing new for Coach McEnroe.

Winning big games with big stakes was nothing new for coach McEnroe, who won multiple conference titles in his time at CLU. The trip to the CIF semifinals is setting up big things for the Lancers next year, as they only look to improve with multiple starters returning, including Taylor, who already sports several big-time scholarship offers.

“When I talked to Coach Mac before I came over here, he got me fired up to be a part of what they were building over here,” Taylor said. “I think [we had] a heck of a start, under a completely new coaching staff with 16 new varsity starters.”

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About the Contributor
Jake Bradley, Sports Editor