Turnovers, penalties defeat Gilroy

Jeff Garcia can’t inspire team to play solid football
Having San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia on the
sideline cheering on his old alma mater didn’t seem to help the
Gilroy High football team last Friday night.
Even with Garcia’s inspiring presence, the Mustangs lost 20-7 to
Monte Vista Christian.
Jeff Garcia can’t inspire team to play solid football

Having San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia on the sideline cheering on his old alma mater didn’t seem to help the Gilroy High football team last Friday night.

Even with Garcia’s inspiring presence, the Mustangs lost 20-7 to Monte Vista Christian.

“They were all excited to see him and appreciated it,” said Gilroy Football Coach Darren Yafai. “But the bottom line is that we really didn’t play well. In fact, I told the team that it was an embarrassing loss. We lost to a team that we are better than. We need to start playing tougher, with more heart and up to our potential.”

Tomorrow, the 1-3 Mustangs will look to find that combination in a rare Saturday match up at Alvarez High in Salinas at 2 p.m. So far, the Eagles have struggled as well and have a record of 1-2-1.

“We can potentially beat anybody, if we can get into a rhythm and limit our mistakes,” said Yafai.

But it won’t be easy finding the Mustangs’ rhythm-especially not without star player Isaiah Gonzalez. Early last week Gonzalez, a second-team All-League player, quit the team. Prior to his departure, Gonzalez had more than 200 rushing yards and more than 100 receiving.

In addition to the hit the Mustangs took in losing Gonzalez was another one due to injury. Junior Melvin Bryant, who plays both tailback and starts at corner, broke his arm in the Santa Cruz game a week earlier.

“Both of those loses hurt us. Isaiah was one of our best players,” said Yafai. “But what really hurt us against Monte Vista was that we turned the ball over four times and didn’t do a good job of run blocking and our offensive line allowed seven sacks.”

The other thing that crushed the Mustangs was bad luck and penalties. In the first half, three Gilroy touchdowns were called back.

On the Mustangs’ opening play from scrimmage, Johnny Kirkish scored on a 30-yard run that was negated by a holding penalty. On Gilroy’s next possession, quarterback Ben Hemeon had a 15-yard jaunt into the end zone called back by another holding penalty.

Two plays later, the Mustangs punted the ball to Monte Vista and it was fumbled at the 50-yard line. Hemeon picked the ball up and ran it into the end zone for an apparent score. But the referee blew the play dead at the 50.

“I think he thought he (Hemeon) was down or touched. I never got an explanation why they blew the whistle,” said Yafai. “But those three plays really cost us the game.”

In addition to the negated touchdown plays, the Mustangs also missed two field goals in the first half.

Monte Vista scored six points in the second quarter and 14 more in the third to take a commanding 20-0 lead.

Gilroy’s lone score of the evening came when J.L. Mangono scored on a 12-yard burst into the end zone, which cut the score to 20-7. But by that time, however, it was too late as the clock wound down on the Mustangs.

“That team is now 3-1, but we should have beaten them,” said Yafai. “I’m embarrassed because I think our fans and our student body and our parents deserve to see us play better than that. I don’t cuss but I let them know what they do right and wrong. And it’s too bad because we should have won that game.”

After the contest against Alvarez tomorrow, the Mustangs get into the meat of their schedule with the final five games all against division teams.

“League schedule is the tough part,” said Yafai. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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