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December 3, 2022

Football | Soledad leads Cypress Division with win against Pacific Grove

SOLEDAD — It seems like the gateway to the Cypress Division title will go through Soledad, after the Aztecs beat the Pacific Grove Breakers, 41-7, last Thursday to move to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the league.

After knocking off Rancho San Juan a week ago, the Aztecs were three wins away from winning the Cypress Division, but first they had a match-up with the Breakers, who were 1-1 in the league. This game was huge for Pacific Grove to win the Cypress, as they needed to win the rest of their games.

In the aftermath of last week’s game, the status of Aztec quarterback Dominic Chavez was unclear going into Thursday night’s match. Also, they were down two defensive linemen. The good news for Soledad was that they would all return in time for the game on Thursday.

The majority of the time, it takes teams a while to get into the flow of the game; however, the Aztecs jumped off to an early 13-point lead. James Lara scored on a 6-yard run, while running back Daniel Raso had a 68-yard scoring reception.

In the second quarter, Soledad did not let up, scoring another 14 points on the back of Francisco Ballesteros, who accounted for both touchdowns. Ballesteros now has seven rushing touchdowns this season.

Pacific Grove came into the game with three running backs that had rushed for over 200 yards, but once again, the Aztecs’ defense dominated, taking the Breakers out of their comfort zone and making their quarterback throw for a season-high.

The Aztecs’ defense forced the Breakers’ offense into two turnovers, and it is the fourth time this year they held teams to only one score.

“Coach Eric (Rodriguez) is a phenomenal DC (defensive coordinator),” said Aztecs head coach Marc Villanueva. “Me being a first year head coach, he’s helped out a lot. He’s a players’ coach, and kids really love him.”

The Aztecs beat the Breakers 41-7, scoring a season-high in points.

Soledad now moves 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Cypress Division. With their seventh straight win, they have broken the school record for most consecutive wins and best start in school history.

“When we started off the year, we were trying to shift the culture,” Villanueva said. “Our execution is a lot better now than it was at the beginning of the year.”

One could make the case that this was the best the Aztecs looked all season. They were able to dominate a Pacific Grove team that was desperate.

Soledad will have a bye week before traveling to King City on Oct. 28 to try to go 3-0 against South Monterey County teams.

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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