GREENFIELD — With 1:20 left in the game and their hopes of winning the Santa Lucia Division hanging in the balance, the Marina Mariners had the ball while down 13-6, but Greenfield defensive back Naythen Hernandez secured the win for the Bruins with a pick 6.
Following three straight road games, Greenfield finally returned home to face Marina in a big-time division game last Friday.
The Bruins started league play at 2-0 after blowing out their last two opponents, and Marina was 2-1, their only loss coming to Stevenson, also a contender in the division.
With the likelihood that the winner of the Santa Lucia Division would only have one loss, Marina needed to win this game to stay alive. Now, Greenfield has some more breathing room.
“In the past, we would have looked over Marina,” said Bruins head coach Adam Barsenas. “But we saw on film that they were not no slouch.”
Starting off the game, the Bruins showed off their strong running game as they were able to move the ball down the field. As Greenfield would drive deep into Marina red zone, they would have a missed snap that stalled their drives.
All season long the Greenfield defense has been the strength of their team, and in this game it would continue.
Hernandez, a sophomore, got his first interception of the game, getting the Bruins deep into the Marina side of the field. The Bruins took advantage of the field position when running back Alonso Barcenas broke a 23-yard run to the end zone. Barcenas finished the game with nine carries for 66 yards.
The Bruins’ defense caused problems all night for Marina, but in the second quarter, they could get on the board to tie them at 6, and it would be the only time they would find the end zone.
In the second quarter, Greenfield’s offense established momentum, but either a penalty or missed snap would set them back. But with under two minutes, Edwin Flores took the ball on a reverse and went 77 yards to the end zone, putting the Bruins up 13-6.
Both teams missed key opportunities to add points to the scoreboard in the second half. In the fourth quarter, the Bruins had several opportunities to put Marina away, but they weren’t able to do so until their breakout sophomore was able to end the game.
When studying the game, most players would have a hard time understanding what to watch during film study, let alone most sophomores playing varsity during their first year have to be walked through the process. For Hernandez, it’s been the other way around.
“He is one of those guys who loves football,” Barsenas said. “He knows everything. He tells me what the offense is going to do before they do it. He tells me tendency. He is watching film. He’s a great kid when it comes to that.”
With the game on the line and 1:20 left, once again Hernandez’s film study would pay off, as he was in the right place to have his second interception of the game that he took to the end zone, clinching the victory for Greenfield 20-6.
With the win, the Bruins are now three games away from winning their first football title in school history, but Barsenas isn’t looking ahead. All season he has been preaching to his team one game at a time.
“We aren’t worried about going undefeated,” he said. “Now, we are worried about going 4-0. Just one game at a time.”
The Bruins now move to 3-0 in the Santa Lucia Division. They have a huge match-up with Stevenson on Saturday, who is also 3-0 in the league.