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November 28, 2021

Football | Playoff hopes fade for Salinas Valley teams

SALINAS VALLEY — With three of the four South Monterey County high school football teams out of the postseason race, there are still plenty of things to play for this season.

Gonzales Spartans

When you look back at the Gonzales Spartans (0-4, 0-7) season, that loss to first-place Pacific Coast Mission Division leader Soquel Knights, 14-6, is an example of what this team can be in the future handling with leaders in their division.

On top of gaining experience for their young core, it will be important just for Gonzales to win a game this year. The last time Gonzales didn’t win a game in a season was the 2013-14 season when they went 0-10.

Last week the Spartans faced off against Santa Cruz Cardinals, who are in first place in the Pacific Coast Mission Division and came into Saturday’s match with a 6-0 record. It didn’t end well for the Spartans, as they fell to Santa Cruz, 49-6.

The Spartans will try to get their first win when they travel to Gilroy on Friday to play against the Gilroy Mustangs.

Greenfield Bruins

Greenfield Bruins (2-2, 3-5) may have had their postseason hopes dashed against Stevenson earlier this month, but historically the team hasn’t had more than three wins in a season since the 2011-12 season, when they had five.

Entering last Friday’s league matchup with the Harbor Pirates, the Bruins were ready to perform in front of their homecoming crowd.

Anyone who has been watching Greenfield play all season is getting used to their slow start on offense. And that was the case in this game when Bruins quarterback Chris Zavala connected with Anthony Morales to give the Bruins a 7-0 lead at the half over Harbor.

Zavala now has five touchdown passes since taking over at quarterback. 

When the Greenfield offense scores, it’s because of the run game. Greenfield’s running back Alex Perea scored his first two touchdowns of the season, giving the Bruins a 21-0 lead in the second half.

Morales got the last score of the day for the Bruins, helping them beat Harbor on homecoming night, 27-6. Morales leads the Bruins in touchdowns with seven.

The Bruins will have a chance to get their fourth win on Saturday, when they travel to Pajaro Valley, which they already beat earlier this season.

Soledad Aztecs

What can only be considered a down year for the Soledad Aztecs (0-4, 2-5), the team is in jeopardy of having its worst season since 2008-09, when they finished with a record of 1-9. 

If the Aztecs want to make the playoffs, they most likely need to win out, but even if they did, there is no guarantee that they would get an invitation.

In 2018, the Aztecs went to the playoffs with a 3-8 and were 3-3 in the league. The Aztecs won their remaining games, going on a three-game winning streak.

But in order for the Aztecs to make a run at this year’s postseason, they would have to get past Pacific Coast Mission Division leader Soquel Knights, who came in with a record of 4-2.

Last Friday was Soledad’s homecoming, and quarterback Dominic Chavez — who in five games has 800 yards passing and six touchdown passes — was ready to spark the Aztecs offense.

But it wasn’t Soledad’s night, as the Soquel running game dominated all night against the Aztecs. Soledad ended up dropping the game, 28-6.

Now, the Aztecs will look to play the role of spoiler as they face the Santa Cruz Cardinals, who are tied for first place with Soquel in the Pacific Coast Mission Division, on Saturday. The matchup will be tough, as Santa Cruz has a league record of 4-0, 7-0 overall, and has arguably the best running back in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

Jason Gallardo
Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.

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