SALINAS VALLEY — Week one didn’t turn out well for the Soledad Aztecs and the Gonzales Spartans, both of which took big losses to start the new 2023-24 high school football season.
Soledad faced an uphill battle last Thursday as they scheduled a game against the Palma Chieftains, Salinas’ powerhouse team.
Palma, which has made it to the playoffs year after year, has a Division 1 player who is committed to Notre Dame on their team, making it a tough matchup for the Aztecs that needed to find a way to stop them this year.
To start the Aug. 24 game, the Aztecs spotted the Chieftains, who earned 21 points off turnovers. Other than the first drive, the Aztec offense had no answer, as they had two blocked punts and an interception — all in the first quarter.
Soledad showed improvement in the second quarter by putting up a good fight. They had a long drive that resulted in a touchdown, boosting their morale. After they scored a touchdown, the Aztecs became more energetic and managed to get some turnovers on the defensive side.
Beginning the second half, the Aztecs felt they could return to the game. They had stopped the Chieftains on a couple of plays, but once again, Palma’s D1 player made it hard to get stops.
Unfortunately for Soledad, they couldn’t string enough stops along and came out on the losing end of the game to Palma, 41-12.
Soledad will next host Greenfield on Thursday.
Looking back at last week’s South County Jamboree, the Gonzales Spartans showed a lot of promise that they possibly could be the best team in South Monterey County.
In week one, the Spartans had to travel on Saturday to Scotts Valley to play their opening game of the season. Last year the Scotts Valley Falcons went 7-3, missing the playoffs.
Coming into this game, as the Spartans looked to build on last year, it was going to be a tough match, and it showed in the final score, as Gonzales fell 35-0 to the Falcons.
The Spartans will have a chance to get back on schedule as they host Pacific Grove in their first home game of the season on Friday.