Van Tunei caught a touchdown pass in the first half and Ray Smith returned a fumble for a touchdown in the second half last night at Lee High School as Westminster of California defeated Lee, 14-0, in the season opener for both schools.
The Lancers' defense played extremely well in defeat. It forced four turnovers and four punts while holding the Lions to 219 yards, 35 of which came after Lee's best scoring chance ended at Westminster's 6-yard line late in the game.
It was the offense that abandoned Lee: 100 yards and two lost fumbles.
"Taking nothing away from Westminster, we just self-destructed," said Lee Coach Steve Sengstack. "It was one of the worst displays of offense I've ever seen. We had some good efforts and made a couple of big plays, but we just had no consistency."
Lee's best chance came after reserve quarterback Frank Vollmer replaced Joe Thompson, who was injured. Vollmer completed a 21-yard pass on fourth down to Brian Kriz to give Lee a first down inside the 1 with four minutes to play.
But the next four plays lost five yards, and Ray Vanatta recovered Vollmer's fumble on fourth down to end the threat. Westminster then ran the game's final four plays.
"We thought our defense played great but we turned the ball over too much and had too many penalties," said Westminster co-coach Stan Clark. "You expect some mistakes in early season games, but not that many. I think all the distractions and travel affected us, but we saw some nice things tonight."
The Lions scored late in the opening quarter. On second down, Bob Elliott threw a 10-yard pass over the middle to tight end Tunei, who was wide open and had no problem completing the 54-yard scoring play. Troy Rossean's extra point made it 7-0.
Westminster had another chance just before halftime, moving to the Lee 18. But Elliott was intercepted by Matt DiGuilian.
Rossean missed a field goal midway through the third period and Lee took over on its 20. On the next play, Vollmer's pitch to running back Asa Langford was a bit high, and Langford couldn't come up with it. Smith could; he scooped it up and ran nine yards for the touchdown.
"I just saw the ball up in the air and went after it," said Smith. "It was like a dream. It's my first real touchdown. I scored one on a punt block a couple of years ago, but all I did was fall on the ball. This one is different."