FOOTBALL: Final non-conference assignment a tough one for Gavilan

 

The Gavilan Rams showed signs of progress in all phases of their
first two games, but last weekend’s 63-20 road loss to College of
Sequoias troubled Gavilan coach John Lango because of the failure
of the defense to show more progress.
The Gavilan Rams showed signs of progress in all phases of their first two games, but last weekend’s 63-20 road loss to College of Sequoias troubled Gavilan coach John Lango because of the failure of the defense to show more progress.

The winless Rams face a similar challenge against Modesto College (2-1), their final nonconference opponent, at 1 p.m. Saturday in Garcia-Elder Sports Complex.

“We took a step back defensively,” Lango said. “It might have been the three-hour bus ride and 98-degree weather. Modesto will be a good test for us because they have almost as much team speed as Sequoias.”

Modesto will be the squad making the long drive this weekend, a fact not ignored by veteran Modesto coach Sam Young.

“With the travel and the heat, I know we’ll be going into hostile territory,” he said. “Gavilan’s shown some explosiveness on offense. We’ve always had good contests with Gavilan. We may try to shorten the game by running the football.”

The Pirates rely on freshman running back Jarrod Daniels to pace their running attack. Daniels, out of Manteca’s Sierra High School, has rushed for 240 yards and two touchdowns.

Devin Combs, Modesto’s starting quarterback, also has rushing skills to go with his passing prowess. Combs has covered 114 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Combs has been accurate under pressure, completing 47 of 73 passes for five touchdowns and no interceptions.

“We’ve had a change in philosophy,” Young said. “We’re establishing the running game more. We used to be more of a West Coast offense. We’ll go to play-action pass when necessary.”

Modesto, a 45-13 winner over Coast Conference member Hartnell two weeks ago, has moved up to Valley Conference this fall.

Lango is pleased with the progress of freshman wideout Matt McGill, noting that McGill’s skills give the Rams three strong receivers at all times.

“Matt runs good routes. (He) is tall and strong,” Lango said.

McGill missed the first game of the season, but, in combination with Andre Cornell and Chad West, creates good matchups against upcoming defenses.

The Rams finish pre-Coast Conference play Oct. 9 at Contra Costa.

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