Bowl berth on the line for Gavilan

Gavilan sophomore quarterback Ajene Palmer, seen in action

Rams can return to .500 with a win over Cabrillo in Saturday’s
game at 7 p.m.
GILROY – The Gavilan College Rams go after a .500 record and a possible bowl berth Saturday when they take on the host Cabrillo Seahawks at 7 p.m. in Aptos.

Depending on Hartnell’s final two games of the Coast Conference season, the Rams may share the conference title and receive calls about post-season play. For that reason, Gavilan, although completing the 10-game season Saturday, will practice next week in hopes of a bowl invitation if the Rams do finish the conference at 3-1 and season at 5-5.

“There are alot of scenarios, but it starts with winning this football game,” said third-year Ram coach John Lango. “If we win, we have an opportunity to be co-champions. A win Saturday would take us back to the practice field for another week while we see how the bowl scene develops.”

Lango took a moment to reflect on the one Coast Conference game that got away, a 33-6 setback to the Hartnell Panthers two weeks ago.

“”I just wish we could have played better against Hartnell,” said Lango. The Rams rebounded with a 39-32 victory over Monterey Peninsula College to move to 2-1 in conference play, while the Panthers are 2-0 after a 21-14 squeaker over Cabrillo.

“Cabrillo is another good test for us,” said Lango. “One of the keys to the game is all the moving and shifting that Cabrillo does offensively to create match-ups. Our defense has to know its assignments.”

The Seahawks are directed by Steve Cox, the dean of conference coaches, and sparked by quarterback Nick Noce. “They’ll run some option with him,” Lango said. “He has a great arm. He’s a good, physical guy.” Noce has covered 1094 yards on 80 completions, ranking second in the conference.

Cabrillo’s leading receiver is Joel Hernandez, good for 27 catches and a conference-leading seven touchdowns as the Sehawks moved to a 3-5 start. Gavilan counters with Brandon Almaguer (33 catches and five TDs) and Will Lawrence (24 with two scores) in the passing game.

Nick Pollard dominates the Seahawk running game, turning 160 attempts for 692 yards and a conference-leading 10 touchdowns. “Pollard’s tall and is a slashing runner, a very effective weapon,” said Lango.

Cabrillo’s defense “doesn’t do as much blitzing and stunting as we do,” said Lango. “They have similar numbers that we do (41 players on the Cabrillo roster, 43 for the Rams), and they rotate alot of guys in.

“If Ajene (Palmer) leads us the way he did last week, we should be fine. Our offensive line gave him tons of time, and we made some great catches that night. If the offense does the same this week, that keeps our defense on the sideline.”

Gavilan lost defensive back Cameron Shutts to a broken leg in the MPC game. Luis Deluz will move into a safety spot with Kyle Thomas starting at corner.

Hartnell plays at DeAnza Saturday at 1 p.m., so that the Rams may know at Saturday night’s kick-off if a conference co-championship is on the line in Aptos.

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