Spartans defense holds Balers

Sacks pound QB; SBHS travels to Monterey Friday
The Seaside Spartans defensive unit exposed the weakness in San
Benito’s offense in the Haybalers’ 21-3 loss at Andy Hardin
Stadium.
The Spartans held Haybalers quarterback Gordon Ross to a paltry
26 yards on 1-of-7 passing, collected four sacks, recovered a
fumble and pounded the San Benito running backs into
submission.
Sacks pound QB; SBHS travels to Monterey Friday

The Seaside Spartans defensive unit exposed the weakness in San Benito’s offense in the Haybalers’ 21-3 loss at Andy Hardin Stadium.

The Spartans held Haybalers quarterback Gordon Ross to a paltry 26 yards on 1-of-7 passing, collected four sacks, recovered a fumble and pounded the San Benito running backs into submission.

In contrast, Spartans quarterback Mark Kirkland torched the San Benito defensive backs for 106 yards on 8-of-12 passing and two touchdowns through the air and 56 rushing yards.

Kirkland’s fourth-quarter, 21-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Laurence Walker ended the hopes of a Haybaler comeback and summed up the frustrations of Coach Chris Cameron.

Following a turnover, the Spartans needed only three plays to hit paydirt as Kirkland hit a streaking Walker in stride.

“Our offense is struggling and that’s the bottom line,” said Cameron after the loss. “We’re not executing well on offense.”

San Benito’s record fell to 1-2-1 while the Spartans improved to 1-2 overall.

The Haybalers have little time to hang their heads though. Tomorrow the Haybalers travel to Monterey High School to battle the MBL’s Toreadors.

Although the Toreadors are winless so far in non-league play, the Haybalers must be wary because nothing is more dangerous than a team in search of its first win of the season.

“We’re going to have to take it one day at a time and we’ll see how we play against Monterey,” said Cameron.

The Toreadors will come into Friday’s game with the MBL’s most impotent offensive attack and porous defense.

So far, Monterey has only managed to score 37 points this season while it has allowed opponents to score 94.

Adding to the Haybalers problems in the first four games of the season are the injuries to linebacker Adrian Pickett and offensive lineman Clay Peer, the only senior on the young line.

Without Pickett, the already stretched defense that uses three offensive players – running backs Trenton Young and Lee Osborne and Peer – gets thinner.

Peer’s absence means the young offensive linemen no longer have a field general in their foxhole, which could lead to more plays like Spartans linebacker Henry Utuampu’s sack of Ross late in the third quarter.

On a Haybalers first-and-10, Utuampu burst through the belly of the Haybalers offensive line and sacked Ross for a five-yard loss.

As the Haybalers passing attack struggled, Utuampu and the rest of the Spartans linebacker corps had free reign over the San Benito running backs.

Utuampu would not allow Young, Armando Larez or any other Haybalers’ back, for that matter, into his defensive backfield.

The Haybalers’ running attack, which was expected to carry the team back into Central Coast Section title contention, was paralyzed.

After reaching the Spartan’s seven-yard line on a mixture of Young, Larez and Ross runs and Seaside penalties, the Haybalers stalled. Ross was stuffed after a three-yard gain on first-and-goal.

On second-and-four yards away from paydirt, the Haybalers called Young’s number, but Utuampu dialed in.

Utuampu tackled Young in the San Benito backfield for a one-yard loss.

On third down Larez was formally introduced to Utuampu after his three-yard carry.

The Haybalers were forced to hit a 20-yard field goal by Elias Boracio for a short-lived 3-0 lead.

Meanwhile, the Spartans had trouble figuring out the Haybalers defense.

“We could not get it going early on,” said Kirkland. “Their defense did a good job of keeping us a little off balance early and bringing the pressure.”

Kirkland and the Spartans struck with :47 left in the second quarter.

A short gain by running back John Rivera was followed by a 15-yard completion to Walker and a 30-yard bomb from Kirkland to receiver Clarence Love culminated the Spartans first scoring drive.

In the third quarter, the Haybalers had an opportunity to wrest the momentum gained by Seaside in the first half but the Haybalers feebly responded to the challenge.

On the first play from scrimmage, Ross fumbled and recovered the ball. Larez followed that up with a one-yard gain and Spartans linebacker Joseph Summers closed out the series with a sack. Larez ended the day with 84 yards on 13 carries.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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