Soledad Aztecs host the Pacific Grove Breakers at home Thursday night. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

SOLEDAD — Thursday night football returns as the Soledad Aztecs host the Pacific Grove Breakers in a key Cypress Division game.

Last week the Aztecs were in a war as they knocked off the unbeaten Rancho San Juan Trailblazers, 17-14. Meanwhile, last week the Breakers had an easier time when they beat North Monterey County, 37-0.

In the game against Rancho San Juan, the Aztecs’ defense showed why they are one of the best in the Pacific Coast Athletic League (PCAL), as they held the Trailblazers to a season-low in points. It might not always be pretty, but Soledad has shown they can pull off these close games.

With Rancho San Juan’s loss last week, both Pacific Grove and King City were able to get into title contention having lost to the Trailblazers already. If you look at the Cypress Division, this is the most balanced in the PCAL. The probability of one team going undefeated in this division is unlikely.

If you are a Soledad fan, Thursday night is going to be challenging, as the Aztecs will probably be down three key members of the defense and possibly more.

Thursday, Oct. 13
Pacific Grove Breakers (4-2) vs. Soledad Aztecs (6-1)
7:30 p.m. at Soledad High School

Pacific Grove Breakers

What We Know: The Breakers are a heavy-run team that mainly uses three running backs. So far this year, they have three running backs that have over 200 yards rushing. The defense can be valuable at times. When they played offense with a strong run game, such as Gonzales, Rancho and Carmel, they did give up 20 points or more.

Players to Watch: Evan Woods comes into Thursday’s match-up with four sacks. Gideon Llantero is closing in on 500 yards rushing.

Question: Can the Breakers match the Aztecs’ level of physicality?

Soledad Aztecs

What We Know: The bye week might be coming a week too late for the Aztecs as they will likely be without a good amount of players still trying to recover from last week’s game. With Dominic Chavez likely out for the game, Soledad will turn back to Ivan Salcido at quarterback, who played with a hurt hand during the game last week.

Players to Watch: Jaiden Blanco be asked to do more to make up for the loss of Chavez. Andy Valdez had a season-high nine tackles in the win against Rancho.

Question: Can the Aztecs overcome all the injuries and stay unbeaten in the Cypress?

What’s at Stake: As winter sports start up, the end of fall sports is fast approaching. A loss for Pacific Grove will eliminate them from winning the Cypress Division outright. The Aztecs have some more breathing room. If they lost on Thursday, they wouldn’t be out of title contention, but they would need PG to lose down the stretch.

Prediction (8-1): After all the emotions of winning a big-time game against Rancho San Juan, Soledad might have paid a high price. Pacific Grove will be playing to keep their title hopes alive. Soledad gets their first league loss of the season — 24-17.

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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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