This is what Gilroy has been training since January for: The playoffs are here.
The Mustangs couldn’t be better set up for a run at a championship. They rolled through the regular season with a perfect 10-0 season. They will have home field advantage through out the playoffs.
But perfect plans on paper rarely yield perfect results.
And Gilroy is not going to get complacent.
“We’re keeping same mentality,” said coach Jubenal Rodriguez. “After we beat Watsonville, we celebrated the whole 10-0 but after that we don’t care what seed are or our record. We’re entering a whole new season records don’t matter.”
Gilroy will need that mentality going up against Santa Cruz who on paper shouldn’t match up against the Mustangs. On the other hand, the Cardinals weren’t supposed to beat St. Francis-Watsonville for a league championship.
“I expect a physical team,” Rodriguez said. “They have a runningback who runs hard and isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder. They like to set up their base plays and once they set them up, they try to run play action out of it.”
Johnny Soto has 415 yards through eight games recorded online. And the Yang to his Yin in quarterback Abram Soriano who can sling it with 738 yards in eight games.
“Their quarterback is a good, big kid with a strong arm. I’m look forward to the challenge.”
But Gilroy has its own weapons.
Joseph Barnes has 1,303 yards and 20 touchdowns in just nine games. Christian Rodriguez follows with 686 yards and 11 TDs.
At quarterback is Brandon Weiler who has really found his rhythm against Watsonville throwing for 113 yards and a touchdown in a 41-14 win.
“All of us, the coaching staff and everyone are very proud of Brandon Weiler,” Rodriguez said. “We put him in a position where he had to step up and play quarterback for us and he’s done an amazing job. He’s taken on the role, shown a ton of leadership and has taken the team to a whole new level.”
Kickoff for Friday is 7pm at Gilroy.
The winner will advance to the semifinals to take on the winner of No. 4 Hillsdale and No. 5 Sobrato on Nov. 24.
“We’re real excited to be where we are,” Rodriguez said. “To know we have a chance to advance out of Round 1 to Round 2 and if we’re fortunate enough to round 3.”