Mustangs give Homecoming crowd plenty to celebrate in 45-14
victory over North Salinas
Gilroy – With his team’s three main offensive producers out of commission for the Homecoming game against North Salinas, Gilroy head coach Darren Yafai was curious to see who would step up in the place of Justin Sweeney, Steven Quistian and Paul Gonzales.
As the first half rolled on and Gilroy took a 35-0 lead by the half, Yafai got his answers one by one.
Chris Velasco (2TD’s), Manny Guerrero (TD catch, TD run), Stefon McCrimon (TD run) and Taylor Micali (2 catches for 40 yards), to name a few.
“Our team was going to need to count on those guys more,” Yafai said.
And they could, as evidenced by Gilroy’s 45-14 rout of North Salinas Friday night for the Mustangs’ first TCAL win. Gilroy now stands at 4-4 overall and 2-1 in league, while North Salinas (2-6) is in last place at 0-3.
Despite appearing shaky in the first few minutes of the game, Gilroy’s offense eventually settled behind quarterback Velasco, making his second start of the season, and began converting plays.
During the Mustangs’ second possession, Guerrero stretched a short pass from Velasco into a 67-yard play that brought Gilroy to the North Salinas 16. After a 10 yard run by Stefon McCrimon, that drive eventually ended with Gilroy on the goal line and Velasco pushing it into the end zone at the 5:31 mark for the first touchdown of the night.
Velasco, who completed 5-of-9 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown, said he felt extra responsibility coming into the game with Sweeney, Quistian and Gonzales out.
“It was hard. Everything was on my shoulders,” Velasco said. “We were real confident coming into the game. We practiced all week real hard.”
Five minutes later, Guerrero went to work again, running a sweep left play 25 yards for a touchdown just before the first quarter ended. Kicker Neil Martin made his second PAT of the night to make it 14-0 Gilroy.
In the second quarter, the defense continued to do its part in holding the Vikings. During North Salinas’ first series of that stanza, Gilroy lineman Matt Hunkin sacked Viking quarterback Tramaine Lamb for a loss of seven yards which forced North Salinas to punt.
During Gilroy’s ensuing drive, tight end Micali bobbled and hauled in a 22-yard pass from Velasco to bring the Mustangs to the Viking 12. On the next play, junior fullback Shane Maslanka scored on a 12-yard run up the middle. Martin’s PAT made it 21-0.
Gilroy created even more breathing room by scoring two touchdowns in the last 40 seconds of the first half on a 12-yard run by Velasco and a 29-yard pass from Velasco to Guerrero. Martin made both extra points for Gilroy to lead 35-0 at half.
With its bench players on the field for most of the second half, Gilroy allowed two North Salinas touchdowns but scored 10 more points of its own on McCrimon’s 10-yard rumble into the end zone with 7:57 left in the third quarter and a 21-yard field goal from Martin with 8:37 left in the game.
In addition to keeping Gilroy’s playoff hopes alive, the victory also ended Gilroy’s recent Homecoming drought.
“It was kind of nice to end our last home game with a win,” Martin said. “(We haven’t won on Homecoming) since I’ve been in high school.”
While the Homecoming victory was nice for the mood of the festivities, Yafai was just glad his team didn’t lose focus during what can be a distracting week.
“The guys did a good job of not getting wrapped up in Homecoming,” he said.
Now, the focus is making the playoffs. At 4-4, the Mustangs have Salinas and Live Oak left to play and Yafai said a 6-4 record in TCAL will be good enough to get them in.
“It’s a 2-game season now,” Yafai said. “You win two games, you’re in the playoffs.”
RECAP OF VARSITY GAME
(Gilroy 45, North Salinas 14)
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Manny Guerrero, Sr. running back
Without its top offensive contributors, Gilroy needed Guerrero to be an effective back. The senior, who had seen limited time at that position up until Friday night, couldn’t have stepped up more. Guerrero scored twice, once on a 25-yard run and again on a 29-yard reception.
Stat of the Game
Three Mustangs scored their first touchdowns of the season against North Salinas: Quarterback Chris Velasco, fullback Shane Maslanka and running back Manny Guerrero
Gilroy 45, North Salinas 14
N. Salinas 0 0 6 8 14
Gilroy 14 21 7 3 45
G (4-4, 1-2), NS (2-6, 0-3)
GIL – 5:31, Velasco 0-yard run (Martin kick) GIL 7-0
GIL – :48.2, Guerrero 25-yard run (Martin kick) GIL 14-0
GIL – 7:55, Maslanka 12-yard run (Martin kick) GIL 21-0
GIL – :40.7, Velasco 12-yard run (Martin kick) GIL 28-0
GIL – :09.8, Guerrero 29-yard pass from Velasco (Martin kick) GIL 35-0
GIL – 7:57, McCrimon 10-yard run (Martin kick) GIL 42-0
NS – 3:19, Dorris 5-yard run (Conversion failed) GIL 42-6
NS – 11:11, Moses 61-yard run (5 run) GIL 42-14
GIL – 8:37, Martin 21-yard field goal GIL 45-14
Gilroy Total Offense: 344 yards
Rushing: 204 Passing: 140
C. Velasco: 4-of-8 for 140 yards, TD
McCrimon: 10 carries for 68 yards, TD
Giacalone: 10 carries for 52 yards
C. Velasco: 6 carries for 47 yards, 2TD
Guerrero: 4 carries for 32 yards, TD
Maslanka: 4 carries for 10 yards, TD
Tovar: 1 carry for -5 yards
Guerrero: 2 catches for 96 yards, TD
Micali: 2 catches for 40 yards
T. Velasco: 1 catch for 4 yards
Martin: PAT’s 6-for-6, FG 1-for-1, 21