Absent offense spoils Rams’ big defensive night

Not even two defensive touchdowns could help the Gavilan College
football team earn its third pre-conference victory
GILROY – Not even two defensive touchdowns could help the Gavilan College football team earn its third pre-conference victory as the Rams’ offense sputtered throughout Saturday’s 30-14 home loss to College of the Sequoias.

“We played well defensively, but we were on the field too long,” said head coach John Lango, whose squad will open its Coast Conference schedule Saturday night at 7 p.m. against De Anza College at San Benito High. “We’re going into conference. We’ll battle. We’ll play well in conference and we’ll go from there. That’s all we can do.”

Trailing 10-0 in the second quarter, the Rams’ defensive unit did what the offense could not all game long – score. On a first-and-10 from the Sequoias 17-yard line, Gavilan freshman linebacker Willie Gamboa (a Gilroy High graduate) got around the corner and drilled Giants’ quarterback Jason Buca from behind. Buca fumbled the ball and Rams’ sophomore Adrian Piney picked it up and scored a touchdown from five yards out.

“(Our defense) played hard. They played extremely well, but we’re still losing,” Lango said. “Gamboa really played well. A.J. (Lee) played well. Moses (Aguilar) played well. Brian Hernandez played well. Tim Sullivan played well. They all played well.”

Well enough to keep the Rams in the game against College of the Sequoias – the 19th ranked team in the state.

Following a 35-yard TD run by Giants’ back Jacquez McCray to make it a 17-7 ball game in the second quarter, the Rams’ defense struck again after the offense failed to move the ball past midfield. On the Sequoias’ second play from scrimmage, Rams’ freshman safety Cameron Shutts intercepted a Buca pass and returned it 23 yards for the touchdown. After a successful extra point, Gavilan was right back in it, trailing 17-14.

College of the Sequoias (4-1) then added a second field goal before the half to take a 20-14 advantage into the locker room.

But in the second half, the Rams’ offense continued to struggle – punting the ball away after a quick three-and-out. Meanwhile, the Giants kept wearing on the Gavilan ‘D’ – completing a 75-yard drive with a short TD run to extend to a 27-14 lead.

Searching for answers on offense, Gavilan (2-4) rotated in quarterbacks Russell Shafer and Ajene Palmer – but still could not penetrate the Giants’ defense.

“We tried that this week to see if we could get a spark and get going. Evidently, we’ve got to do something different,” Lango said. “We’ve got to get something done right because it’s killing us that we can’t score points. Our defense can play that’s for sure, but we can’t do it that way. We have to move the ball and score points.”

Against the Giants, Gavilan College could not move the ball or score points. According to Lango, there were openings but they could not capitalize.

“The calls were there. Guys were open. We’re just not getting the ball. We’re not making plays. And that’s one of the things we stressed all week – make a play and be the guy who wants the ball,” said Lango of his offense. “Evidently, I don’t know if some of these guys want the ball or not. I have no idea. Plays are there. Calls are there. Guys are wide open. We’re dropping balls. We’re not making plays. We’re missing blocks. You can’t do that.”

Offense will be the name of the game this week in practice as the Rams get ready for their conference opener against De Anza.

“They’re a pretty good football team. They’ve got about 65 guys so again we’ve got our work cut out for us,” Lango said. “Our conference is going to be real interesting because everybody is pretty even. We’ll see what happens.”

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