West Valley sends Gavilan to seventh straight gridiron loss, 16-0

SARATOGA
– West Valley took a 7-0 lead in the game’s first four minutes
and went on to blank the Gavilan Rams 16-0 in Coast Conference
football action at Saratoga High School Saturday night.
SARATOGA – West Valley took a 7-0 lead in the game’s first four minutes and went on to blank the Gavilan Rams 16-0 in Coast Conference football action at Saratoga High School Saturday night.

The whitewash marked the first time in 29 years that the Rams have suffered two shut-outs in a season. Modesto topped the Rams in Gilroy 38-0 three weeks ago. Gavilan dropped games of 30-0 to Porterville and 7-0 to Cabrillo in 1981.

Gavilan will carry a 0-7 record into Saturday’s 1pm Homecoming Game against the Monterey Peninsula College Lobos at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex.

“Our defense played extremely well,” said Gavilan coach John Lango. “West Valley only had three first downs in the first half. Special teams hurt us, then we gave up field position with two interceptions and a fumble.”

West Valley, coming off a 0-10 season in Jim Winkler’s first year as head coach, snapped a six-game losing streak while moving to 1-1 in conference play with a date in Salinas against Hartnell College next weekend.

“That early punt return helped,” said Winkler.

The Vikings, 1-6, were not able to gain a first down on the initial possession, but Gavilan also suffered a 3-and-out at the Rams 11. Justin Caldwell caught Ali Aryanpour’s punt at the Gavilan 42, made two quick moves past initial potential tacklers and raced up the middle of the field to give the hosts a 6-0 lead. Dylan Frechette, a Live Oak product, added the point-after kick with 11:23 left in the first quarter.

Gavilan had three potential scoring drives in the last 20 minutes of the first half, including two that reached the West Valley five-yard line.

Ram quarterback John Criswell fumbled the ball to West Valley with 2:03 left in the first quarter at the Viking five. The Rams earned first downs on three consecutive plays early in the second quarter before a Sean Burgland pass was tipped up and intercepted in the end zone. Gavilan then produced four first downs on the way to a first-and-goal at the eight. After Jamal Rice gained five yards on first down, the next three plays netted zero yards.

“Our defense was able to get some turnovers and stop their drives,” said Winkler. “We were able to put our offense on the short field (in the second half) to get the late touchdown and field goal.”

The Vikes took over on the Ram 27 when Duane Lee picked off a Berglund pass and returned the ball 20 yards. On second and 10, Chris Eke raced up the middle for the 27 yards to a 13-0 cushion with 25 seconds left in the third quarter. The point-after kick was blocked.

Caldwell returned a Ram punt 15 yards and a personal foul on Gavilan set West Valley up at the Ram 17. Frechette belted a 23-yard field goal with 9:52 left in the game.

Gavilan finished with a 13-9 edge in first downs, 152-119 lead in rushing yards and 114-67 advantage in passing yardage.

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