FOOTBALL: Rams continue moving forward

Gavilan's Rafael Alvarez fights through a tackle Thursday during

A 60-minute live scrimmage Thursday evening in Garcia-Elder
Sports Complex gave new Gavilan football coach Spencer Gilford an
opportunity to see how much improvement his players made during the
first two weeks of practice.
A 60-minute live scrimmage Thursday evening in Garcia-Elder Sports Complex gave new Gavilan football coach Spencer Gilford an opportunity to see how much improvement his players made during the first two weeks of practice.

While the 10-game season does not start until Sept. 10, with a 5 p.m. home game against De Anza, the officiated scrimmage provided game situations for the Rams’ 45 players suited.

Early in the scrimmage, the offense was flagged for several penalties for delay of game. By the middle of the third quarter, though, plays were brought in timely and the offense was at the line of scrimmage quickly so that the plays went off without delay.

“This was the first time to mimic a game situation,” Gilford said. “It was very important to give all of the players a chance to see what they can do.

“We came away without any injuries, and I was pleased with where we are at after less than one week of padded practices. This scrimmage gave us a good look as to the things to improve on before the first game.”

Gilford plans another live scrimmage this week before beginning specific preparation for the opener against the Dons, the 2009 Coast Conference champions.

Gilford, the former defensive coordinate at Los Medanos College, was hired in February after Gavilan ended John Lango’s 11-year term as coach.

“I’ve only seen 16 of the 45 freshmen from last year’s team,” Gilford said, regarding the challenge in building a new program. “Defensively we have more sophomores. The offensive unit is mostly freshmen.”

Gavilan used two quarterbacks in the scrimmage, Nate Ellis and Omar Kharoob.

Ellis was able to throw a 21-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the first half.

Kharoob threw a 29-yard touchdown pass behind the secondary with 5:10 left in the third quarter, then completed a 42-yarder to complete the scoring with six minutes left in the scrimmage.

“There’s good competition between the quarterbacks,” said Gilford. “The next live scrimmage will be used to determine the starter for the first game.”

Gilford called the play of the Gavilan running backs “very strong.” Freshman Jakari Johnson had several strong runs.

Gilford added that freshman defensive lineman Luis Padilla “played very well.”

“The defense played very well as one unit,” added Gilford.

The Rams have a five-game nonleague slate before opening Coast Conference play. Gilford has seen several of the league teams during the past two seasons, including Cabrillo, West Valley and Hartnell. He has some insight into their styles of play.

Gavilan plays three of its nonleague games at home, each with a 5 p.m. kickoff in Garcia-Elder Sports Complex. In conference play, the Rams host West Valley at 1 p.m. Oct. 22 at Live Oak High School’s Richert Field. Their homecoming game is at 1 p.m. Nov. 5 at Gilroy High School.

Gilford is Gavilan’s 12th football coach and is at the helm for the Rams’ 49th season.

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