Now It’s For Real: Prune Bowl ’05

Now It's For Real: Prune Bowl '05

When the lights go on tonight at Hollister’s Andy Hardin
Stadium, there will be much more on the line than just bragging
rights between two historic rivals.
When the lights go on tonight at Hollister’s Andy Hardin Stadium, there will be much more on the line than just bragging rights between two historic rivals.

The Mustangs (3-2) and the Haybalers (2-3) are both teams that desperately need a victory to start out the Tri-County Athletic League season.

“It’s big for bragging rights in terms of the two schools and the two towns,” said SBHS head football coach Chris Cameron. “But to me, the broader picture is, it’s league time now. We’re competing within the league and we want to be in a position where we can play that 10th game of the season and have it mean something.”

Hollister has yet to win two in a row this season while Gilroy is coming off back-to-back losses. The Mustangs fell to San Lorenzo Valley, a team that Hollister defeated 28-21 in week two, by a final score of 41-40 in week four. In its last game, Gilroy fell to Oakland Tech 26-17 despite putting up 284 yards of total offense.

Should they lose tonight in the TCAL opener and fall to 3-3 overall on the year, the Mustangs would be looking at a very tough beginning to their league season as the Palma Chieftains come to town on October 21 for what should be another tough game for Gilroy.

“(Tonight’s game) seems evenly matched,” said Gilroy head coach Darren Yafai. “But (Hollister) is one of the best, if not the best coached team in the area.”

Because of that, Yafai knows his team is going to have to play its best ball of the season to knock to hand the ‘Balers their first league loss of the season.

One of the keys to the game for Gilroy will be Justin Sweeney’s health. The senior tailback, who has 902 rushing yards this season, pulled a quad muscle two weeks ago against Oakland Tech and was out of the game for the last three quarters. He returned Monday for a full week of practice.

“If Sweeney’s healthy, and we think he is, that’s tough for any defense,” Yafai said. “I don’t know if he’s back to normal, but he’s going to start.”

For the Haybalers, all of the preseason games against some of California’s best programs were meant to prepare them for what begins tonight the 2005 TCAL campaign and another run at a league championship.

The defense is primed, as was evident in last Friday’s 28-14 win over San Luis Obispo. In that game, Hollister’s defensive unit held running back Stuart Hill, who was coming off two-straight games in which he rushed for 200-plus yards to go over the 800-yard mark on the season, to just 51 yards on 21 carries.

The ‘Baler offense also seemed to get into an efficient groove in the team’s win over the Tigers. Running back Jeff Weltz pounded out 72 yards on 10 carries for a touchdown, Tim Lango came through with some crucial power runs and quarterback Karson Klauer came through when it counted by hitting Jason Ramirez for a 33-yard touchdown reception to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve obviously got some momentum,” Cameron said. “We didn’t go out and win the Super Bowl or anything so we have to put that win behind us now and look ahead. But it’s better to come out of the preseason with a win as opposed to another loss. But our sights are set on Gilroy.”

Yafai isn’t taking the ‘Balers’ deceiving 2-3 record too seriously.

“Hollister is the best team we’ve seen up to this point,” he said. “Obviously, whatever effort we gave against SLV or Oakland Tech will not get us win.”

Gilroy Mustangs (3-2) at San Benito Haybalers (2-3)

Offense

There’s no doubt San Benito has the edge in the passing game with seasoned senior quarterback Karson Klauer and Gilroy has the edge in the running game with Justin Sweeney & Co. The question is, which will be more effective? San Benito threw just two passes last week against San Luis Obispo, but Sweeney pulled a quad muscle that took him out of the Oakland Tech game two weeks ago. If Sweeney’s injury doesn’t act up, or if he plays through pain, life will be better for Gilroy. EDGE: EVEN

Defense

If there’s one mainstay for San Benito, it’s the D. You can count on it to be solid and it’s been well-tested in non-league games this year. The ‘Balers have allowed the fewest rushing yards (401) in the greater Monterey Bay area. The Gilroy defense has shown periods of greatness this season, but has also allowed some big plays. EDGE: SAN BENITO

Intangibles

When it comes to the Prune Bowl, it’s almost ridiculous to measure stats and numbers. They become almost irrelevant in this matchup that is really about who wants bragging rights to the age-old rivalry more. It’s a close call, but Gilroy has been stewing in its disappointing loss to Oakland Tech for two weeks and had the bye week to heal and prepare. And there’s no doubt the Mustangs feel slighted by controversial calls in last year’s Prune Bowl. The Haybalers may have the home field advantage, but Gilroy’s going to have the mental edge. EDGE: GILROY

Prune Bowl History

OVERALL RECORD (Since 1956)

HOLLISTER 27, GILROY 20 (1986: TIE, 1967: NO GAME)

2005 TONIGHT ?

2004 Hollister 7-6

2003 Hollister 37-7

2002 Hollister 41-6

2001 Gilroy 37-21

2000 Hollister 32-12

1999 Hollister 34-13

1998 Gilroy 18-14

1997 Hollister 27-21

1996 Hollister 12-7

1995 Hollister 28-13

1994 Hollister 35-17

1993 Gilroy 7-3

1992 Hollister 19-15

1991 Gilroy 17-14

1990 Gilroy 20-8

1989 Gilroy 24-13

1988 Gilroy 10-0

1987 Gilroy 9-0

1986 Tie 14-14

1985 Gilroy 50-28

1984 Gilroy 40-30

1983 Hollister 29-15

1982 Gilroy 7-6

1981 Gilroy 23-9

1980 Gilroy 41-28

1979 Hollister 21-6

1978 Hollister 6-0

1977 Hollister 6-2

1976 Hollister 25-0

1975 Hollister 28-6

1974 Gilroy 21-8

1973 Hollister 6-0

1972 Hollister 21-6

1971 Hollister 14-0

1970 Gilroy 15-6

1969 Hollister 50-6

1968 Hollister 13-6

1967 NO GAME

1966 Hollister 13-7

1965 Hollister 7-6

1964 Gilroy 13-7

1963 Gilroy 7-0

1962 Gilroy 15-0

1961 Hollister 31-7

1960 Gilroy 19-13

1959 Hollister 7-6

1958 Gilroy 34-6

1957 Hollister 6-0

1956 Hollister 13-0

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