FOOTBALL: Gavilan blanked by Modesto

 

After it posted 20 points against an arguably better opponent in
College of the Sequoias last week, the Gavilan College Rams were
held without a single point against Modesto last Saturday, when the
visiting Pirates jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead en route to a
38-0 victory.
After it posted 20 points against an arguably better opponent in College of the Sequoias last week, the Gavilan College Rams were held without a single point against Modesto last Saturday, when the visiting Pirates jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead en route to a 38-0 victory.

The loss keeps the Rams (0-4) winless through non-conference play, although Gavilan will wrap up its pre-Coast Conference schedule on Saturday against Contra Costa College, a team the Rams defeated 73-32 last season.

“But they’re much improved,” Gavilan head coach John Lango said of the Comets, who defeated Monterey Peninsula College 32-18 to open the season, but have since lost three straight to Diablo Valley (20-27), Los Medanos (17-25) and Mendocino (28-38).

“They play hard and fast and physical, and they’re a ton better than last year,” Lango added. “It’s gonna be a battle on Saturday. It’s gonna be about who makes fewer mistakes.”

Mistakes were the name of the game for Gavilan last Saturday, however. Four turnovers — one of which was a 10-yard interception return for a touchdown by Modesto’s Anthony Zizzo in the third quarter — and 10 penalties for 99 yards prevented the Rams’ attack from finding the end zone.

Gavilan was held to just 192 yards of total offense.

“It’s the same thing that’s been happening since Day One,” Lango said. “We start drives and get a stupid penalty, or whatever. We get a pass play and get called for offensive holding.

“Against team’s like this, you can’t have penalties that put you in holes.”

Quarterback Cameron Hernandez threw for 129 yards on 18 of 38 passing, but had three interceptions, while the ground attack was limited to just 57 yards on 32 attempts — a 1.8 yards-per-carry average.

Modesto (3-1), meanwhile, compiled 450 yards on offense behind a ground game that ate up 201 yards on 46 attempts. The offense was multifaceted, though, with 11 different backs taking carries, three different quarterbacks attempting passes, and nine different receivers targeted.

“They’re a real good football team,” Lango said. “Our non-conference schedule has been tough.”

The Rams defense kept Modesto quiet on its first three drives. But the Pirates awoke late in the first quarter when quarterback Devin Combs, who finished the game with 185 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on 13 of 20 passing, connected with wideout Donovan Wallace on a 65-yard touchdown pass.

The drive took all of 44 seconds.

Modesto blew the game open almost as quickly in the second quarter to take a 24-0 lead to the break. Combs connected on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Robert Samano with 13:47 remaining, placekicker Anthony Davis tacked on a 23-yard field goal five minutes later, while Combs again found one of his receivers, Ronyea Ellington (5 rec., 65 yards), on an 18-yard touchdown pass with a little more than one minute left in the half.

Zizzo’s interception return in the third quarter made it a 31-point game, while Gerald Barker added a 3-yard rushing touchdown late in the contest.

The Rams, marred in turnovers and penalties, didn’t have a single drive begin in Modesto territory, while only five of their 15 drives finished on the Pirates’ side of the field.

“I didn’t think we’d get shut out. We’ve been improving on offense,” Lango said. “But we just could not get into the end zone.”

Matt McGill and Andre Cornell each caught five balls for a combined 82 yards. Excaliber Holder was the team’s leading rusher with 29 yards on eight attempts.

Chris Archuletta led the Rams with 10 tackles.

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