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March 20, 2023

Rams Capitalize on Nine Turnovers

The Gavilan Rams took advantage of nine College of Marin
turnovers to topple the Mariners 27-14 in the season opener for
both squads Saturday afternoon on the losers’ turf.
Kentfield – The Gavilan Rams took advantage of nine College of Marin turnovers to topple the Mariners 27-14 in the season opener for both squads Saturday afternoon on the losers’ turf.

Four fumbles and five interceptions left the football in the hands of the grateful Rams. Gavilan turned two interceptions (Jamaal Todd and Anthony Francis) into immediate touchdowns.

Gavilan, outdistanced in total offense 368-193, will go after a 2-0 non-Coast Conference record Saturday in a 7pm game against the Modesto Pirates at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex. The Pirates failed to score in the second half of a 40-21 loss to the visiting San Joaquin Delta Mustangs in Saturday night’s season opener.

Coach John Lango alternated first-year quarterbacks Michael Incardona and Nick Kalantari. While neither produced consistent drives, the Rams were far less inclined to give the ball away than the out-numbered Mariners.

Incardona managed to score one touchdown, darting through trouble to complete a three-yard scamper midway through the third quarter to give Gavilan a 27-6 lead. Even that touchdown was tainted by a Marin turnover. Gavilan recovered a Mariner fumble at the host nine and needed just two plays to finish the nine-yard march to paydirt.

Incardona completed six of 13 pass attempts for 47 yards and one interception. Kalantari was 6-for-13 for 63 yards.

“It was a sloppy win,” Lango said. “It may have been first-game jitters. We didn’t play very well. Neither quarterback stepped up. Nick ran some good play-action plays. Mike scored once, but fumbled two snaps.”

Gavilan posted an 83-43 edge in rushing because the Mariners ditched the running game by halftime, trailing 20-6. Three Mariner passers combined for 325 yards and one touchdown along with five interceptions.

Todd, a freshman linebacker out of Los Banos, scored from 21 yards out by picking off a screen pass by Marin starting quarterback Bobbi Lutge with 10:40 to play in the first quarter. Gavilan Place-kicker Michael Blewett began a 5-for-5 afternoon by converting the point-after kick for the 7-0 Ram lead.

A Ram fumble recovery at the Marin 24-yard line late in the quarter set up a Blewett 37-yard field goal.

The Rams took a 17-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter. The Mariners had the ball at the Gavilan 17 when Francis, a sophomore safety from Hollister, darted into a passing lane at the one and avoided three tacklers to cover 99 yards for the touchdown.

The return was the third-longest in Gavilan’s 45-year history. Dan Gonzalves went 100 yards against Ohlone in 1969 and Robert Macias went the same distance in 1995 with a pick against West Valley.

Marin hit the scoreboard with 10:53 to play in the second quarter when Travis Senhaux passed 20 yards to Erik Guldbeck to complete a 62-yard drive. The point-after failed leaving the Mariners down 17-6. Blewett completed the first-half scoring with a 33-yard field goal with 4:16 left.

Incardona’s touchdown was the only scoring of the third quarter. The Mariners scored with 26 seconds left in the game on a 19-yard pass from Thomas Arguello to Derek Bosia. Arguello and Levi Leon completed a two-point PAT to end the scoring.

Frosh Tim Lango paced the Ram rushers with 40 yards in 10 attempts. Steven Conner covered 39 yards with five receptions for the winners.

Todd finished with two interceptions. Eddie Sumpter and Steven Norman added thefts for the Rams defense. Defensive end Chase Graves recorded two sacks and twice hurried the quarterback into poor throws.

Lango praised the work of the defensive front line. “We planned to make Marin throw if they wanted to beat us.”

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