Make-or-break week for Gavilan gridmen

Rams in need of win Saturday vs. Monterey Peninsula
GILROY – The legacy of the 2002 Gavilan College football team will be determined within the next 10 days.

Currently 1-1 in Coast Conference play and 3-5 overall, the Rams can reach the .500 mark for the 10-game season as well as have an opportunity for a share of the conference title with victories over Monterey Peninsula College (Saturday night at Mustang Stadium) and Cabrillo (Saturday Nov. 16 in Aptos).

“We still have a shot at the conference championship and a bowl game,” said Gavilaan coach John Lango. The Rams need a Hartnell loss in the next three weeks, combined with two Ram wins, to clinch a share of the crown in the five-team league.

The Lobos were the lone conference victim of the Rams last season, falling 41-34. Monterey Peninsula College is still looking for a first win this season, taking an 0-8 record (0-2 conference) into the 7 p.m. affair.

“We’ve done some good things on both sides of the ball, but there have been mistakes,” said MPC coach Mike Rasmussen about the 45-player team. “We’ve prepared and have become better each week.” DeAnza held off a late Lobo rally to claim a 30-24 win last Friday. Gavilan succumbed to Hartnell 33-6.

Monterey Peninsula has a versatile offense, directed by sophomore quarterback Anthony Garnett. Leading the conference with 1820 yards and 16 touchdowns, Garnett is also sixth among conference rushers with 271 yards and one score.

Brian Holmes, a powerful 215-pound running back, leads the Lobo ground game. The sophomore leads the conference in rushing attempts (217) while piling up 707 yards and eight TDs.

Freshman wide-out Brian Chalmers is the key ingredient to the Lobo passing attack, dominating the conference statistics with 724 yards on 61 catches, while also leading in all-purpose running with a 142-yard average.

Leading the Lobos defensively are linebackers Dan Leauma and Keoni Block.

“The Coast Conference is very competitive, very balanced,” Rasmussen echoed other coaches. “Any team can beat anyone, so one loss doesn’t knock you out.”

“We have to be ready to put points up on the board,” Lango said when prepping for the Monterey Peninsula game. “We know they’re good and they are going to score, so we’ll have to match points with Monterey and play good defense. We should be able to shorten the game with our defense.”

Lango has spent several practice hours revising the Rams’ defensive front scheme, a response to Hartnell’s ability to find a clear lane to create an effective running game Saturday in Salinas.

“We’re going to establish our running game,” Lango continued. “We have five backs and we’ll use all of them if we have to to make the offense effective.”

Monterey Peninsula has been burned for a conference-worst 450.9 yards per game defensively, giving the Rams hope to turn its inconsistent offense into the type of unit needed to carry the team to the .500 level.