‘Stangs Look to Refocus

The Gilroy High football team could use nothing more than a win
on Homecoming against North Salinas before ending the regular
season with two away games.
Gilroy – The Gilroy High football team could use nothing more than a win on Homecoming against North Salinas before ending the regular season with two away games.

But the absence of tailback Justin Sweeney, tight end Steven Quistian and running back Paul Gonzales could make the task more difficult. Due to injuries, all three players won’t be on the playing field tonight.

Both Gonzales and Quistian sustained injuries against Palma. Sweeney, head coach Darren Yafai said, is fending off an accumulation of nagging aches and pains. None of the three practiced all week.

“When you have to go into a game with three key offensive weapons out, it hurts,” Yafai said.

But not getting a win tonight could hurt the Mustangs even more. With both Gilroy (4-3) and North Salinas (2-5) left as the only teams looking for their first Tri-County Athletic League wins, a loss would put Gilroy in sole possession of last place and likely out of the playoff hunt.

Other players will have to step up in the absence of Sweeney, Gonzales and Quistian. Yafai is depending on fullback Stefon McCrimon, Vince Giacalone and Manny Guerrero to pick up the slack in the running game. Taylor Micali will step in at tight end and play both ways.

The other key for a win, Yafai said, is putting together two halves of strong football.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to play a complete football game,” Yafai said.

For the second week in a row, senior Chris Velasco will start at quarterback. Yafai was pleased with how Velasco responded in his first start last week against Palma. The quarterback threw one touchdown pass and no interceptions.

“It was a good effort,” Yafai said. “Good enough to earn him a starting position again this week. He was efficient and he played hard.”

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