Mustangs coming off 40-14 loss to Serra
Gilroy – When is enough really enough in football?
Do you substitute when you get a big enough lead or fall far enough behind?
This is what confronted Gilroy High head football coach Rich Hammond and his staff last Friday in the Mustangs’ 40-14 loss to Serra.
As Matt Hemeon stood patiently on the sideline awaiting his chance to get into the game as quarterback, Hammond kept Marc Vegas in the one-sided contest.
And yet the game was one-sided only in the score. GHS had more first downs than Serra, had 365 yards of total offense and was able to move the ball better than it had all season and against a quality opponent.
But once again, the Mustangs had trouble punching the ball into the end zone.
So when Gilroy (1-3) got the ball back after Michael Stromecki’s fumble recovery at its own 38 with 2:11 remaining in a 40-6 contest, Hammond elected to send Vegas back into the game.
“We needed to get into the end zone,” Hammond said. “Sometimes, you need a boost of confidence. I felt we played our best offensive game but we weren’t scoring either because of breaks or mistakes. I felt our kids needed to get in the end zone.”
It wasn’t just Hammond who felt the Mustangs needed a psychological boost.
“Twenty first downs and 14 points is unacceptable,” assistant coach Steve Low said. “We just haven’t been proficient at getting into the end zone.”
Interestingly, GHS was proficient with the opening kickoff, going 80 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown. After recovering a pooch kick at the Padres’ 35, the Mustangs were in position to go ahead by two touchdowns before Serra ever ran a play from scrimmage. It didn’t happen as GHS stalled, and the offensive woes that have beset the Mustangs all season returned. Only this time, Gilroy was able to move the ball and nearly had only six points to show for 20 first downs and 365 yards of total offense.
“Our kids played really hard as far as effort and desire,” Hammond said. “We needed some kind of reward for that.”
Thus, rather than make changes at the skill positions like he had a week earlier, Hammond stuck with Vegas, who had a hot hand all game completing 12-of-16 passes for 116 yards. It paid off at the end of the game when the Mustangs scored. Hammond can only hope it carries over this Friday when Gilroy opens its Tri-County Athletic League schedule by hosting Salinas.
Injury update: Travis Reyes suffered strained ligaments in his toe and will miss the game with Salinas.
Drive of the game: Gilroy took the opening kickoff 80 yards in 11 plays, capped by Paul Gonzales’ 17-yard run.
Stat of the game: Gonzales ran well with 150 yards on 29 carries, but Deleon Eskridge was the star with 202 yards on 10 carries and three TDs.
Special teams play of the game: Edward Valdez’s recovery of a pooch kick after the first GHS touchdown that gave the Mustangs the ball at the Serra 35.