GONZALES — If you asked me after last month’s South County Jamboree, which high school football matchup I would be the most excited to see, it would have been Greenfield versus Gonzales.
From the tiny sample that we got at the Jamboree, it was everything we like about sports competitiveness: passion and trash talk going back and forth.
As league play is fast approaching, the path to the playoffs for both of these teams seem very different.
Greenfield’s season has been hurt by injuries, losing their starting quarterback on the first drive of the season and losing their starting left tackle.
Gonzales’ season started last week with a loss to Pacific Grove. In that game, the Gonzales quarterback was playing not only in his first varsity game, but also as a quarterback for the first time since the eighth grade, all while setting a school record in passing yards.
Thursday, Sept. 9
Greenfield Bruins (0-2) vs. Gonzales Spartans (0-1)
6:30 p.m. at Gonzales High
What we know: Coming into this game, Greenfield will have to overcome a tough loss to King City and find a way to help the running out. Coming into this season, Gonzales will go through some growing pains, being a very young team.
Gonzales strengths: After having a quarterback and wide receiver both set school records in the first game of the season, that is evidence enough that the passing game is going to be strong this year.
Players to watch: Gabriel Mendez’s last game had nine receptions for 196 yards and two TDs. He also set a school record for receiving yards. Juan Pablo “JP” Ayala-Acosta, who played his first varsity game, threw for 23 of 37 for 333 yards with two TDs and ran for one TD.
Questions: Can Gonzales build off the second half they played against Pacific Grove? After giving up over 200 yards rushing, can they stop the run?
Greenfield strengths: For long periods of the two games, Greenfield played the defense that has shown it can taken over for long periods.
Players to watch: It is possible that we can see left tackle Nathaniel Olivas play this first game of the season.
Questions: Can Greenfield overcome the injuries and help out the running game?
Prediction (2-1 record): After the Jamboree, this game was the one I was the most excited to see just because of the trash talk and passion these teams played with. Knowing Greenfield won’t be at full strength puts a damper on things. Hopefully, I’m wrong, but I believe Gonzales wins this game 30-13.