–– The Coast Conference championship is definitely up for grabs
Saturday night when 2-0 Cabrillo meets 2-1 Gavilan on the Mustang
Gavilan’s Rams stormed back into the conference crown scene
Saturday with a 38-23 conquest of the Monterey Peninsula College
Lobos. Meanwhile, Cabrillo shocked Hartnell 30-27 to shoot to the
top of the conference with a 2-0 record.
By BOB BURCH
GILROY –– The Coast Conference championship is definitely up for grabs Saturday night when 2-0 Cabrillo meets 2-1 Gavilan on the Mustang Stadium turf.
Gavilan’s Rams stormed back into the conference crown scene Saturday with a 38-23 conquest of the Monterey Peninsula College Lobos. Meanwhile, Cabrillo shocked Hartnell 30-27 to shoot to the top of the conference with a 2-0 record.
“It’s their last ballgame,” acknowledged Cabrillo coach Steve Cox, the dean of conference football coaches.
“This game, to them, is everything. They can be .500, tie or even win the conference title.”
A Ram victory would clinch at least a share of this year’s title. Cabrillo, Hartnell (1-1) and DeAnza (1-1) each have two games to play.
“Gavilan hasn’t won a championship since 1996 (a 7-4 team coached by Sam Moore),” said Gavilan coach John Lango. “It’s make or break for us. We still have an outside shot at a bowl game with a win.”
“Gavilan’s started slowly against both Hartnell and MPC,” said Cox. “They took control in the second quarter at Monterey. To their credit, they came right back after a couple of quick MPC touchdowns in the second half and played hard to finish the game.”
Cox has seen his team go through “an interesting season. We’ve had 11 season-ending injuries, including eight with our sophomores. We’ve been struggling just to stay alive, but the kids have been resilient and always working. We lost a big game against College of San Mateo because of injuries, then beat Yuba the next week (7-3).”
Two stellar members of the Cabrillo defense have managed to stay away from the injury jinx. Defensive end Albert Garcia out of Watsonville High has had a strong campaign. Defensive back Brandon Joseph has an interception in each of the past five games
The Seahawk offense is led by halfback Loren Jensen, who is tied with Gavilan’s El Ray Henry atop the conference rushing statistics with 892 yards.
Cox has prepped his defense to anticipate both Henry and wide-out Ted Mason as the Rams seek to reach 5-5 for the season.
“Henry’s had a good year,” said Cox. “He’s a combination of fullback and halfback. He’s not flashy, yet he’s not a plodder. We better tackle him or he’ll break one. He’s a threat.”
Mason “brings a dimension you have to pay attention to at any time. Gavilan hasn’t thrown as much as I expected.”
Mason has dominated the Ram passing game with 55 catches for 932 yards. Cabrillo counters with three receivers with at least 19 catches through a 3-5 season. Seahawk Brian Davilla has 41 catches covering 700 yards and a conference-leading seven touchdowns.
T.J. Monroe continues to pace the Northern California interception ranks with seven entering the finale.
“We need to establish being physical, let the other team know we’ll be here all night,” said Lango of the Rams’ hopes of a quick start against the Seahawks.
“We have yet to play a complete game. Our offense has been slow to develop recently. We need a real team effort, get going offensively and we should be fine.”