GONZALES — Gonzales Spartans came up short against the Soquel Knights, 14-6, in their first game of league play.
The young Spartans didn’t have their offense clicking that Friday night, Sept. 24, producing only six points.
“Our guys played hard and as a team from beginning to end,” said Gonzales Head Coach Eddy Ramirez. “They showed fight until the clock ran out and they kept each other up.”
Gonzales quarterback Juan Pablo “JP” Ayala-Acosta scored the team’s only touchdown, when he scored from 24 yards out to make the score 7-6 after a missed extra point.
The Spartans had a chance at the end of the game to try to tie it up. Gonzales made it down into the Soquel territory, but the Knights stopped them from completing the comeback.
“Our team is learning quickly and we are getting better each game,” Ramirez said. “I’m proud of their ‘never give up’ attitude and am pleased with the visible development and growth from week to week.”
Although the Spartans lost, there are signs of improvement in two major areas.
Their running game improved this game when Champ Flores had 21 carries for 110 yards. It was a season high in run attempts at 27 and the most some had rushed for in a game.
Another area of improvement was on the defensive side of the ball, holding the Knights to 14 points, which is the lowest amount of points an opponent has scored against them. Teams have averaged 34 points a game against the Gonzales defense.
Gonzales’ Nate Dixon and Gabriel Mendez each had an interception, while Juan Zarate recorded a season-high six tackles.
“We are getting better each game on both sides of the ball and in all facets of the game,” Ramirez said. “On Friday night, our defense really stood out with some key stops and turnovers. Give Soquel credit though, they definitely earned the win.”
The games are going to get harder for the Spartans, but Ramirez believes in the development process of this team.
“Our team is young but they are hungry and eager to get better,” he said. “They know that our record is not an accurate reflection of our talent or capabilities, so they come to practice ready to work hard and push each other. I also make sure they have a chance to provide input into some of the decisions we make for our team. This may be my program, but it’s their team, it’s about them.”
The Spartans also played on Saturday, Oct. 2, against Carmel, where they lost 29-0.