9-Minute Mustangs

Gilroy's Sean Hale takes off from the backfield during Friday's

Nine minutes was all the Gilroy Mustangs needed to outscore the
Salinas Cowboys in a 23-18 victory Friday night.
Gilroy – Nine minutes was all the Gilroy Mustangs needed to outscore the Salinas Cowboys in a 23-18 victory Friday night.

After giving up a touchdown with 5.3 seconds left in the first quarter, the Mustangs returned the favor on the following drive, scoring on a 7-yard slant route by Marshad Johnson. The touchdown, which tied that game at 6-6, stopped the clock with 9:07 remaining in the second quarter. By the time the scoreboard read 7.9 seconds, GHS was lining up for a 26-yard field goal by Kevin Grove that went through the uprights and gave Gilroy a 23-6 lead at halftime.

The team would not score again. Luckily for the Mustangs, they didn’t need to.

“I disliked the second half and I liked the first half,” GHS coach Rich Hammond said at practice on Monday. “We didn’t finish them off so that part was frustrating. We’ve gotta be a better football team than that, especially if we want to win the TCAL.

“So, I worry about that. Maybe I’m a little over-obsessed with the way we played the second half. The one thing I will say, I’m proud of our kids because they did make plays when they had to. We did get first downs when we had to. They were awful situations we put ourselves in, third-and-20s, third -and-15s, but we got a first down. It took a year off my life.”

If the second half took a year, that nine-minute span might have saved the coach a few months.

Six plays after Johnson’s touchdown catch, Richie Sotelo returned an interception for a touchdown that boosted the lead to 13-6. Only two and a half minutes had run off the clock.

“Huge,” Hammond said. “And he made some nifty moves on it and everything else. Talk about momentum.”

The momentum only continued to grow as the Mustangs forced a three-and-out on the next series of downs and took over at their own 20-yard line.

On the first and only play of the drive, quarterback Jamie Jensen threw a deep ball down the right sideline to Travis Reyes for an 80-yard score. A defender nipping at his heels, Reyes rustled through the arm-tackle for the touchdown. The play took only eight seconds off the clock and occurred two minutes and 14 seconds after the previous score, giving Gilroy a 20-6 lead.

“I was happy with how fast we scored and the fact that we were able to go vertical,” Hammond said.

Jensen, who broke the 300-yard mark passing for the fourth straight-game, is currently the second-rated passer in the state of California, according to MaxPreps.com. Nationally, he has thrown for the 12th most yards per game with 333 per contest.

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