Gilroy High piled up 619 yards, held Pajaro Valley scoreless in the second half and cruised to a 48-19 victory Friday night in Gilroy.
And after all those yards and all those points, three words were all it took to sum up the win: “We needed it,” Gilroy High head coach Brian Boyd said.
With the exception of a bundle of penalties, three of which wiped out touchdowns in the first half, the Mustangs had that urgency typical of a 0-3 team needing a pick-me up.
“Our concentration this week was to get one (win) under our belt,” Boyd said. “I told the kids that this was the beginning of our season.”
Ricky Alvarado, who got the call to start at running back in place of injured Brandon Boyd, had two first-quarter touchdowns negated because of penalty – one on the Mustangs (1-3) first play from scrimmage no less. So the senior decided to do the next best thing – help a teammate get to the end zone.
Alvarado laid the key block that sprang Brendan Holler 27-yards to pay dirt midway through the first quarter to give GHS a 7-0 lead. The Mustangs never trailed.
Alvarado found his way across the goal line eventually, though, scoring from 2-yards out twice and galloping 75 yards for another touchdown en route to a monster 19-carry, 247-yard performance.
“We needed that boost,” Alvarado said.
And all that open green in front of him?
“I’ve never experienced that before. I like it though,” he said.
The Mustangs offensive line cleared the way for 451 rushing yards in all – which included nine runs of more than 20-yards a pop.
“We wanted to prove we still had a running game,” lineman Izack Lugo said.
After giving up 274 yards and 19 points in the first half, Gilroy’s defense – led by an active linebacker group of Joe Madolora, Alex Maciel and Mike McGee – hunkered down and kept the Grizzlies’ three-headed rushing attack at bay, surrendering just 102 yards in the final 24 minutes.
“We made some adjustments at halftime to contain their counter,” Boyd said.
The effort was capped by a goal line stand from the 2-yard line at the end of the game.
“We were chasing that first taste of a win,” said Joe Madolora, who recovered a fumble in the first half that led to Gilroy’s first score. “We pushed hard in that second half.”
Pajaro Valley (1-3) twice answered Gilroy scoring drives with points of its own through 14 minutes of the first half.
After Holler’s touchdown run, the Grizzlies traveled 73 yards in five plays. Quarterback Eddie Medina (5-of-10, 134-yards) gathered running back Anthony Cantrell’s fumble and rumbled 25 yards for the touchdown. The point after was no good.
GHS quarterback Mikey Guerrero (7-of-17, 168 yards 2 TDs) hit Jared York in stride for an 18-yard touchdown to lift GHS ahead 14-6 with 2:16 to play in the opening quarter.
Cantrell, who ran for a Santa Cruz County record 362 yards last week, drew the Grizzlies within one point after an 8-yard run.
Guerrero had a pass intercepted on the Mustangs ensuing drive, but the defense let him off the hook as Alex Vega stepped in front of a Medina offering.
On the next snap, Alvarado went on his 75-yard jaunt to make it 21-13 GHS. He made it 28-13 with a 2-yard plunge late in the quarter.
Pajaro Valley struck for its final points with 33 seconds left in the half. Medina and Abraham Jauregui paired up for an 8-yard score.
An Alvarado 2-yard run, a Guerrero 1-yard keeper and a Guerrero-to-Jalynd Gallardo 9-yard pitch and catch propelled the Mustangs through the second half.
“I’m extremely happy with what went on in the running game,” Boyd said. “It feels good.”
NOTES: The Mustangs were flagged for 15 infractions…Gallardo finished with four catches for 70 yards…Kevin Aldana had one catch for 40 yards…Holler had 80 yards on five attempts, Jakob Method 32 all on one touch, Isiah Madolora went for 46 yards on six carries and quarterback Guerrero gained 46 yards and one touchdown on the ground.