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March 1, 2021

Following comeback Gilroy faces tough test in Live Oak

The Gilroy football team proved it is a force not to be reckoned with.
The Mustangs scored 30-unanswered second half points, including 24 in the third quarter, to erase a 21-0 halftime deficit to knock off Carmel 30-21.
Gilroy improves to 2-0 for the first time since 2008 when the Mustangs opened up the season 8-0.
Joseph Barnes scored all three of the third quarter touchdowns to get Gilroy back into the game and the defense took care of the rest.
“I think something just clicked,” said coach Jubenal Rodriguez of the kids’ start in the second half. “They didn’t want the game to end the way the first half ended and did something about it.”
Rodriguez said they were able to make the right halftime adjustments and the players took the coaches’ advice perfectly.
“Special teams came in handy. We were able to play the field position game and we were able to win the game that way,” Rodriguez said.
He said the team showed it had a certain tenacity for the game and it is encouraging to see.
“I learned we have heart,” Rodriguez said. “They found what they needed to find in themselves as a team and rallied around each other and came out on top.”
Now comes a big test for the Mustangs that will echo with the sounds of a rivalry that has long been dormant.
Gilroy will play host to Live Oak who is coming off a hard loss to Christopher and visions of erasing the Mustangs’ zero in the loss column.
Rodriguez said he expects Live Oak to not give Gilroy anything for free in the game.
“I expect a well coached, disciplined team,” Rodriguez said. “I expect a lot of big plays from their offense. I have a lot of respect for Coach (Mike) Gemo and that program.”
The key to slowing down Live Oak for Gilroy will be slowing down quarterback Jonathan Singleton.
Singleton threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns against Christopher and is now above 600 yards for the season.
But it will be easier said than done.
“He is one of the best quarterbacks in the section right now,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the key to the game will be making sure his boys play their assignments soundly and don’t let mental mistakes take them out if it.
“I tell the team all the time, the only team that can beat you is you,” Rodriguez said.
Live Oak has been stingy in its run defense of late, limiting Christopher to fewer than 50 yards on the ground.
Rodriguez said they are going to prepare as they always do, but will be ready to make adjustments on the fly based on what Live Oak is giving them.
“We’re going to treat this game like any other game,” Rodriguez said. “We’ll see what they give us and try to take advantage of that and try to exploit it. It depends on what they do against us and I hope our coaching staff can make the proper adjustments.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Gilroy.
Cheeto Barrera
Cheeto Barrera is the sports editor for the Morgan Hill Times and Gilroy Dispatch.

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