Everyone got paid. The Gilroy High football team has that as one of its mottos and even printed out T-shirts with that exact phrase.
It comes from longtime coach Skip Bloom, who is currently the Mustangs’ junior varsity defensive coordinator. Bloom and Gilroy varsity head coach Tim Pierleoni are best friends, and Pierleoni has incorporated Bloom’s slogan at the varsity level.
“Everyone from the backups to the starters work hard, and we want to make sure everyone gets paid and gets to play,” Pierleoni said. “That’s the most important thing.”
Everyone certainly got paid in Gilroy’s latest game, a 37-7 win over Gonzales on Oct. 22. The victory improved the team’s record to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the Pacific Coast League’s Mission Division. The Mustangs dominated the line of scrimmage, allowing their running backs to rip off huge gains while delivering hard tackles on defense.
Some of the linemen and playmaking linebackers include Dylan Chirco, Mateo Rodriguez, Edwin Cervantes, Trenton Sands, Daniel Cruz, Elijah Williams, Sam Hernandez, Raiden Rosso, Nova Takafua and Caleb Reynolds. Chirco had several tackles, including three for losses, and the offense had one of its best games of the season.
“The linemen are getting better every week,” Pierleoni said. “They believe in what we’re doing, they believe in the system and believe in what my coaches are telling them. And you can see it each week, and now we’ve got a big big game ahead of us.”
You can say that again. Gilroy hosts league-leader Santa Cruz (8-0, 5-0) on Friday, a game that will show just how close the Mustangs are to arriving as a premier program. The Cardinals have been absolutely destroying teams this season, with their “closest” result coming in 29-point victories over Soquel and Monterey.
In the postgame huddle, Pierleoni delivered an inspirational speech to his players about the challenge that lay ahead. The first-year GHS coach who came over from Christopher is hoping his kids understand what’s at stake and have a great week of practice.
“They’re the best football team in the league, but our kids are not going to shy away from that challenge,” he said. “They’re definitely the favorite, they’re very good, well coached, and they’ve got a bunch of big, strong kids. We saw them over the summer in 7 on 7s (passing league) and were very impressed with them.
“All we can do is come in and be extremely prepared and give it our best shot, and that’s all we’re looking for. That’s life. There are moments when we’re underdogs and sometimes preparation and hard work comes through, and that’s what we’re excited for. We’re really excited about this game to test ourselves against the best and that’s what we get to do. That’s all you can ask for.”
A touchdown run from Marcques Anthony—who rushed for 106 yards on seven carries—followed by Jadon Perkins’ 1-yard TD run made it 13-0 after one quarter. The Mustangs scored 17 more points in the second quarter to take a commanding 30-0 lead into halftime.
Perkins completed 6-of-9 passes for 103 yards. A running clock was implemented in the fourth quarter, a far cry from season’s past when it was Gilroy that was trailing big and looking to be put out of its misery.
Under Pierleoni and his coaching staff, that is no longer the case. Gilroy took advantage of a mistake-prone Gonzales team that had trouble with the snap and holding onto the ball all game. After a fumble recovery on the third play of the second quarter, Perkins hit Tyrone Quarles (49 yards on eight carries) for a 20-yard TD on a nice rollout play to make it 20-0.
Jonathan Gongora, who had 54 yards on six carries, accounted for the Mustangs’ next score, a 19-yard TD run, which was followed by a 32-yard field goal from Jeremiah Vlcek with under a minute remaining until halftime. Anthony’s 12-yard TD run on the team’s first possession of the fourth quarter capped the scoring, and from there Pierleoni and the coaching staff tried to get as many players in the game as possible.
After all, everyone has to get paid.