It was a game worthy of a rivalry tag between two schools 10 miles apart, facing each other for the first time. Two potent offenses combined for nearly 100 points, but it was a goal line stand and a 99-yard march that won it.
Sobrato (2-0), which held the lead for most of the first half, needed a rally in the final minutes to stun vising Gilroy High 48-44 in nonleague action Saturday night in Morgan Hill.
“Gilroy in no way was going to let anybody roll over them,” Sobrato coach Nick Borello said. “They are a big team and have some great players. That game literally could have fallen either way. Both teams kept battling back.”
When his number was called, Jojo Nunn answered it. He was on the receiving end a 4-yard pass from quarterback Michael Bocksnick for the game-winning touchdown to cap a seemingly improbable rally.
“I was just trying to redeem myself after giving up that touchdown earlier,” said Nunn, who also plays defensive back in addition to wide receiver.
The Mustangs (0-2), who were up by as many as 11 points in the second half, thought they had the game won. They marched down the field, eating up clock behind the rushing attack of Brandon Boyd, who torched the Bulldogs defense for 266 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries.
Boyd bulldozed his way to the Sobrato 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter before the ball came loose and Isaiah Hardy recovered it for the Bulldogs with about four minutes left in the game.
“We had that game won,” said Gilroy coach Brian Boyd. “We thought when Brandon went into the end zone his leg was down before he lost the ball.”
Hardy also picked off the final desperation pass from Gilroy quarterback Mikey Guerrero way down field in the final seconds to seal the game.
“We fought through adversity and we stuck together,” Hardy said. “I felt like I needed to make a big play and we got it. We all were trying to make the big plays.”
Bocksnick, throwing from his own end zone, found Hardy for 37 yards to start the game-winning drive. Bocksnick then scampered around for another 25 yards, as the Gilroy sideline and its fans were yelling “defense.”
Drew Glines picked up another six yards on the ground. Bocksnick ran for four yards to the Gilroy 7-yard line, but was just short of moving the markers.
On fourth down and about a foot, with both fan bases cheering loudly and after Gilroy just got off a time out before the play, Glines picked up 3-yards and the first down to set up the defining touchdown.
“I am not surprised the team had it in them (to come back),” Borello said. “They played really well in tough situations. But there were lots of mistakes though and really bad tackling.”
Glines finished with 104 yards on 12 carries, Bocksnick rushed for 185 yards in 16 attempts and Miguel Redmond led all ball carriers with a whopping 241 yards on 19 touches.
Down 26-23 at the half, the Mustangs came out strong in the second half. Brendan Holler returned the opening kickoff 60 yards (his second kickoff return in as many weeks) to give Gilroy the lead back. And then just a couple of minutes later, Holler was back in the end zone, scoring on a 59-yard run from scrimmage for a Mustangs 37-26 advantage.
But Sobrato battled back. Glines scored on a 6-yard run, adding in the 2-point conversion, Sobrato trailed just 37-34. The Mustangs recorded the next 10 points as Jacob Method hauled in a 35-yard pass for a touchdown for seven of those.
Later, Nunn picked off a pass from Guerrero and returned it to the14-yard line, where Bocksnick ran it in to draw the Bulldogs within 44-41 with 10 minutes left in the game, where the scored stayed until the final drive.
Gilroy got on the board first in the game after Luke Otteson sacked Bocksnick in the end zone, and Boyd ran in for 45 yards with 5:53 left in the first period.
“We’re extremely proud of the effort they put in,” coach Boyd said. “We just came out on the wrong end.”