SOLEDAD — This Friday, former MTAL rivals face off for the Aztec-Bruin Helmet in the season opener for both schools.
Greenfield has not held the helmet since 2010.
Soledad has dominated this rivalry as of late, but this year there’s a little bit of a twist, as Soledad Head Coach Jose Martinez, a former Greenfield assistant coach, faces his old team.
Greenfield Head Coach Adam Barsenas praised Martinez’s coaching ability.
“He used to coach under me in the 2019 season as my defensive coordinator,” Barsenas said. “He’s an awesome coach, and I know he will be successful in all aspects on and off the field.”
Friday, Aug. 27
Greenfield Bruins (0-0) vs. Soledad Aztecs (0-0)
7 p.m. at Soledad High
What we know: Absolutely nothing. Going into this game, both teams played a combined total of one game in the last year. We’ll see a lot of new faces playing varsity football for the first time.
Greenfield strengths: At the South County Jamboree, you can’t help but notice the size of Greenfield’s offensive line. This offensive line from tackle to tackle might be the best in South County.
Players to watch: Other than the whole offensive line, starting quarterback Eric Andrew Hernandez is a guy to keep an eye on. Running back Alonso Barcenas had an excellent Jamboree running the ball. Also on the defensive side are defensive backs Cristian Zavala and Oscar Perez.
Questions: Can the middle of the defense keep everything in front of them and hold receivers to no yard after the catch? Also, if Greenfield falls behind, can they throw the ball consistently in the Soledad wind?
Soledad strengths: Offense, offense and more offense. Soledad is arguably the most dynamic offense in South County.
Players to watch: Daniel Raso will be all over the field come Friday, playing running back and wide receiver. Bryan Acero will be the starting quarterback, and he can play. At the Jamboree, he showed the ability to extend the plays, can make plays with his legs when things break down, and he can throw a good ball.
Questions: Will the Aztecs’ depth hurt them? According to coach Martinez, they will be without “first group guy.” One area to watch is the depth on the offense and defensive line.
Prediction: Greenfield has the formula to take control of this game with that offensive line. If they can control the time of possession and keep Soledad offense on the sideline, they will be in a great position. But I believe the Aztecs will feed off the home crowd that hasn’t seen them play football in over a year. Soledad wins this one, 28-21.