SALINAS VALLEY — In Friday’s high school football finale, the Gonzales Spartans will travel to face the Soledad Aztecs, with each team hoping to get their first league win of the season.
In the last five match-ups between the rivals, Soledad leads the series 3-2, but the Spartans won the previous two.
Coming into this season, Gonzales knew that it was going to be a rebuilding year. Their starting quarterback is a sophomore, and a year of no football doesn’t help.
Last week Gonzales’ game with Monterey was canceled due to a Covid-19 outbreak within the Monterey program. This left the Spartans (0-8) with only one more chance to get their first win of the season.
The last time Gonzales went winless in a season was in 2013.
It’s hard to determine what expectations should be for a team coming off a year without football. No one in Soledad could have seen the Aztecs having a 2-7 record.
First-year Soledad Head Coach Jose Martinez is going through some growing pains. His team started the season 2-1, but since then, they have lost their last six games.
The last time the Aztecs won only one league game was back in 2008.
Friday, Nov. 5
Gonzales Spartans (0-8) vs. Soledad Aztecs (2-7)
7:30 p.m. at Soledad High
What We Know: Throw out the records and everything that has happened this season. A win over your rival might not cure the letdowns these teams have been through this season, but a win over your main rival is one heck of a consolation prize.
What We Know About Gonzales: If you like to see an offense throw the ball all over the field, then you’re going to love to see them play. All season long, Gonzales has prioritized pass over the run, and why not. The Spartans have a young quarterback that will break every school record by the time he’s done at the school.
Spartan Players to Watch: In his first varsity game, Gonzales sophomore quarterback Juan Pablo Acosta-Ayala broke a school record for passing yards. Spartans wide receiver Gabriel Mendez has been one of the best wide receivers in Monterey County. He leads with 606 receiving yards and is first in catches (37).
What We Know About Soledad: This year, Soledad Aztecs have been inconsistent all season. One week it looks like their offense is the best in the county, and the next two weeks, it disappears.
Aztec Players to Watch: Soledad’s Daniel Raso might not have put up the numbers he was expecting, but if Gonzales doesn’t game plan for him, he will burn them offensively and defensively. Wide receiver Isaiah Cruz has been one of the few breakout stars for the Aztecs this season and has recorded 10 touchdowns.
Questions: Gonzales has only 489 rushing yards all season. Can Gonzales develop a run game to help out their young quarterback against the Aztecs?
Prediction (8-4 record): When both of these teams are playing their best, I believe these teams will go back and forth, scoring on each other. I think in this game, each team will score in the 30s. I believe Soledad wins this game just because they are at home. If Gonzales was home, I would have gone with them. Soledad wins, 40-34.