‘El’ Train

Henry rusn for 181 yards, 3 TDs in 28-6 win over De Anza
CUPERTINO – Coast Conference competition seemed to bring out the best in the Gavilan College Rams Saturday afternoon, resulting in a 28-6 victory over the host Dons.

El Ray Henry gobbled up 181 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries as the Rams took Step One in the climb to the Coast Conference title and a likely bowl berth. The Step Two challenge comes Saturday night at Hollister’s Andy Hardin Field when Gavilan hosts defending conference champion Hartnell in a Homecoming affair.

All in all, Gavilan handled play from start to finish, with few letdowns that would allow the 1-6 Dons to move into upset position against the 3-4 Rams.

Gavilan did have 16 penalties for 131 yards, on several occasions negating sizeable gains on offense because of holding penalties. The lone DeAnza scoring drive was a gift after Gavilan’s punt block unit was whistled for a personal foul for roughing punter Chad Talley with 1:38 left in the third quarter and Gavilan up 22-0. Three plays later, Don quarterback J.P. Melert found Jamaal Bellow a half-step behind the Gavilan pass defense for a 24-yard touchdown pass.

“I’m glad we won the football game, but we could have played better offensively,” said Gavilan coach John Lango.

“There’s always room for improvement. I felt we should have moved the ball up and down the field.”

While Gavilan produced 356 yards in total offense, the Rams defense allowed only 245 yards. The Rams came up with five interceptions and four sacks, led by two from Josh Visperas.

“Our defense played well, just like last week,” said linenbacker Brian Hernandez. The sophomore co-captain collected his third interception of the season in the third quarter. “They had been running inside slants on me all day, so I just read it,” Hernandez said of the pick and 13-yard return.

Patrick Ames went 10-of-19 for 134 yards and one touchdown for the winners. Brandon Zertuche covered 25 yards with a 4-for-5 relief effort. Nick Buzzetta was sidelined for the second week, although Lango expects the starter to be available against the Panthers.

Henry entered the Gavilan 41-year program record books with the 28th-best single game rushing performance with the 181-yard effort. The freshman from Yerba Buena High became only the 14th Gavilan rusher in history to record a third 100-yard effort.

Gavilan could not move the ball on its first series when two Ames tosses fell incomplete. The second series was kept alive by two consecutive DeAnza offside penalties. The Rams took advantage of the Dons miscues when Henry ripped off a 40-yard touchdown run. Henry sped through a hole at right tackle, made one move against the grain at the 20 and split the defense for the jog for the final 15 yards. A.J. Garbin, who was to leave the game with an ankle injury later in the first half on a pass reception, kicked the point-after with 10:36 left in the first quarter.

Ames converted a second-and-25 challenge with 10:43 left in the half by arcing a 42-yard pass to a leaping Guy Blightman to the Don 21. While Henry handled the ball on four of the next five plays leading to a three-yard TD run, Ted Mason keyed the drive when he snared an Ames pass from a tough angle to gain 12 yards on third-and-six. Gustavo Valdovinos added the PAT at the 8:02 mark.

J. R. Richmond’s fumble recovery on the first Don series of the second half set up a clinching touchdown. Henry accounted for the 41 yards to paydirt, using one straight-arm at the 15 to finish a 29-yard scoring run. When the point-after kick was not tried because of a missed exchange in front of Valdovinos, holder Zertuche raced around the left side for the two-point PAT at 12:24 of the third quarter.

After the Dons scored, Gavilan responded with a four-play drive to a final TD. Henry made runs of 18 and 15 yards to reach the Don 46. Ames then threaded a slant pass to Mason who jetted through the Dons for the touchdown.

“To us, those three-step drops are almost like a long hand-off,” Lango said of the final scoring play.

Tony Beal made two interceptions, Richmond and Arnold Rivera one each.

“Both of our strong safeties, Justin Cabana and Rivera, each played very well,” Lango said.

Robert Pickett and DeJon Finney-Lott came up with sacks, with Finney-Lott’s 15-loss tackle for loss cementing the win. Linebacker and punt coverage specialist Kyle Costa made an open-field tackle than tempered a potential long DeAnza punt return in the first half when the Gavilan lead was just seven points. Linebacker Janall Arthur quieted the DeAnza offense midway through the second quarter then he stuffed running back D.J. Eddy on a flanker reverse.