Pre-conference pounding

GILROY
– Although the five-team Coast Conference football race is
expected to be closely fought when it begins in two weeks, the
Gavilan Rams and the other members must fight through the difficult
pre-conference schedule. One more strong opponent can be seen in
the rear-view mirror as the College of San
Mateo Bulldogs methodically tore up the Rams 58-10 on the
winner’s field Saturday afternoon.
GILROY – Although the five-team Coast Conference football race is expected to be closely fought when it begins in two weeks, the Gavilan Rams and the other members must fight through the difficult pre-conference schedule. One more strong opponent can be seen in the rear-view mirror as the College of San Mateo Bulldogs methodically tore up the Rams 58-10 on the winner’s field Saturday afternoon.

Gavilan mustered 245 yards in total offense and learned alot about the art of tackling, or non-tackling, in the defensive secondary as the Bulldogs exploded for 491 yards in total offense in dominating the play.

San Mateo, coming into the game ranked seventh among all Northern California community colleges, showed a propensity for big plays, both on offense and with special teams. Ineffective tackling by Ram defenders helped San Mateo turn sizeable gains into touchdown plays.

“We do need to do a better job of tackling,” said third-year coach John Lango after watching the Rams slip to 2-3. “That’s correctable, and we’ve already made plans to address that in this week’s practices.

“I don’t think we ever gave up. They’re just a better football team than we are, the best team by far we’ve faced. I’ve said all along that we have a tough pre-conference schedule.”

Playing without starting running back Danny Gallo, the Rams earned 127 rushing yards. A.J. Garcia covered 64 yards in 16 assignments in a starting role. Both quarterback Russell Schafer and running back Adam Ramos finished with 25 yards rushing. Ramos accounted for the only Gavilan score, a five-yard scamper with 1:51 left in the game. Jorge Garcia’s PAT kick left Gavilan behind 51-10.

Even with the Rams needing more than 58 minutes to reach paydirt, the Bulldogs had enough offense left to finish the scoring. Luther Moss raced 51 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage after the Ramos score.

“I think we can run the ball better,” Lango said of the Rams’ plans heading into this week’s home date with Sequoias and the following four-game conference campaign. “The offensive line gave up only one sack to San Mateo. We continued to show good discipline.” The Rams were flagged for only one penalty, a five-yard infraction on an onside kick try in the fourth quarter.

Gavilan received the opening kick-off and promptly took a 3-0 lead. A strong 38-yard kick-off return by Kyle Thomas set the Rams up at their own 44. Sam Tolutau collected a deflected pass to complete a 26-yard Schafer toss to the Bulldog 26.Brandon Almaguer could not pull down a Schafer pass to the goal line on third down. Almaguer did drill a 40-yard field goal with 12:18 to play in the quarter.

Just 38 seconds later, San Mateo had a 14-3 lead.

Marque McCray scrambled 76 yards with the ensuing kick-off. Quarterback Hassan Noble fired a TD strike to Akbar Jones in the corner of the end zone at the 11:56 mark, Joe Axiaq adding the extra point.

Ajene Palmer’s kick-off return ended with a fumble that San Mateo’s Jason Brien caught at the Ram 28. On the next play from scrimmage, Noble was challenged. He could either throw to an open Alvaro Carvajal in the left corner of the endzone or to an unmarked Justin Rhodes under the goalposts. Given time to decide, Noble flicked a touchdown pass to Carvajal for the 14-3 edge at 11:40..

Gavilan did force two San Mateo punts and also picked up four first downs the remainder of the half.

San Mateo went ahead 20-3 when Sione Tavake scored from one yard out wiith 2:29 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs featured three touchdowns and a 40-yard Axiaq field goal in the second quarter. McCray raced 67 yards on an option play, Noble teamed with fullback David Taufoou for a 47-yard scoring pass, then Noble covered 61 yards on a pass to Rhodes.

San Mateo’s lone score on the third quarter was a 19-yard burst off left tackle by Tavake, a 6-foot, 245-pound fullback.

Schafer played the entire game at quarterback for the Rams, finishing with 14 completions in 28 tries for the 118 yards and two interceptions. Rams Brian Hernandez, A.J. Lee and Paul Bianchi each recorded a tackle for loss of yardage.

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