What Might’ve Been

Now It's For Real: Prune Bowl '05

The Gilroy High football players peeled the horseshoe and
Mustang decals off their blue helmets, turned in their uniforms and
gear Thursday afternoon and officially laid their season to
rest.
Gilroy – The Gilroy High football players peeled the horseshoe and Mustang decals off their blue helmets, turned in their uniforms and gear Thursday afternoon and officially laid their season to rest.

Of course, Gilroy’s season-ending fate was officially decided last weekend when the Mustangs lost out on the CCS Large School playoffs on a coin flip. Gilroy, Capuchino and Woodside all had the same amount of playoff points going into the CCS seeding meeting and because all three teams had not faced each other head-to-head, the flip of a coin gave Woodside the eighth and final seed.

In a way, it was the last straw in a series of unfavorable events for Gilroy, which finished 5-5 overall and 2-3 in league.

“Sometimes this team, we couldn’t get it done in the end or we couldn’t keep it going,” said senior center Bobby Best. “Which, pretty much at 5-5 and barely making the playoffs kind of typifies the whole season.”

There were games Gilroy should have won, but didn’t. Then Salinas, who the ‘Stangs upset at The Pit, was forced to forfeit all its games for using an ineligible player. That bumped Live Oak and Hollister, who both had lost to Salinas earlier, ahead of Gilroy in the TCAL standings.

Though he didn’t approve of the use of a coin flip to decide the last playoff spot, head coach Darren Yafai knew the season shouldn’t have come down to one in the first place.

“My philosophy is although we think it was a bad decision and that (the CCS) made up its own interpretation (of how to deal with the tie), we should have taken care of it on the field.”

Best and fellow senior Manny Guerrero found the coin flip outcome a little unsettling.

“It’s weird,” said Best, who led the team with 46 tackles and 10.5 sacks. “It kind of reminds me of the BCS and how all this is based on a points system. And then you just end up pulling names from a hat.”

Said Guerrero, “There should definitely have been better ways of handling it.”

The end of the season sees the departure of Yafai, who decided earlier in the year that he would leave with the senior core of Best, Matt Hunkin, Neil Martin, Taylor Micali, Marcus Muñoz, Steven Quistian and Justin Sweeney, who all played on varsity for three years.

“Yaf’s a players coach,” said Sweeney, who finished the season with a team-high 21 touchdowns and as the TCAL rushing leader with 1,553 yards. “He’s a lot of fun. Serious when he needs to be. He’s a good coach.”

Many players thought the team would build upon last year’s success and go even farther this season.

“I thought we were going to go to the playoffs and win everything,” said senior linebacker Ryan Dickerson. “But it didn’t work out that way.”

But Sweeney didn’t like Gilroy’s chances if the Mustangs had clinched the last playoff spot.

“I don’t really even think it was worth going to the playoffs. We probably would have lost anyways because if we were going to get in as an eight seed, it’s not even worth really going,” he said. “It’s a disappointment not making the playoffs senior season but you’ve got to deal with it.”

As for his football future, Sweeney, a CCS first-team selection last year who rushed for 3,672 yards in his career, said he could be headed to play for Northern Arizona, which he said offered him a scholarship.

Best is also decisions about college and where he’ll play. Right now, his front runners are UC-Davis and Cal Poly. He also expressed disappointment at not ending his high school football career with a playoff trip.

“I wish we could have made it all the way. But we didn’t and we could have, but that’s life,” Best said “Football can be a lot of analogies to life and sometimes the ball doesn’t go your way, literally. And that’s life.”

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