FOOTBALL: Balers post another shutout, silence Alvarez 21-0

San Benito's Anthony Cervantes breaks through four Eagle defenders late in the second quarter.
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There were brief moments in the second half Friday night when
San Benito’s two- and later three-touchdown lead against host
Alvarez was on the verge of being spoiled, much like how it had
been earlier this month when the Alisal Trojans deposited two late
scores to ruin an otherwise perfectly good shutout.
But few on the San Benito sidelines could see the resemblance
between the two contests, perhaps because the Balers, who
controlled Friday night’s game from start to finish en route to a
21-0 shutout victory, never let Alvarez make any headway.
SALINAS

There were brief moments in the second half Friday night when San Benito’s two- and later three-touchdown lead against host Alvarez was on the verge of being spoiled, much like how it had been earlier this month when the Alisal Trojans deposited two late scores to ruin an otherwise perfectly good shutout.

But few on the San Benito sidelines could see the resemblance between the two contests, perhaps because the Balers, who controlled Friday night’s game from start to finish en route to a 21-0 shutout victory, never let Alvarez make any headway.

Not one bit.

“This was better than that night (against Alisal),” head coach Chris Cameron said. “We made some execution mistakes, had some penalties. But we were in control of the game for much of the night.”

Penalties did nearly kill the party. The Balers were flagged 14 times for -120 yards.

But big-yardage touchdowns by Michael Bocksnick (57 yards), Cody Hendricks (40 yards) and James Sanchez (34 yards), coupled with a defense that forced three turnovers and held Alvarez to without a first down until the third quarter, San Benito did more than enough to offset its errors.

“I think we were in control of the game, but we were shooting ourselves in the foot,” Cameron said.

No matter.

Not only did San Benito (5-3, 3-1 TCAL) record its third shutout of the season and second in a row, and not only did it become playoff eligible with the victory, but the Balers earned their first consecutive win this season, snapping a win-one-lose-one streak that has lasted all year.

“We were losing, winning, losing, winning. This was our week to lose,” said the fullback Hendricks, referring to last week’s 31-0 victory over North Salinas. “But we came out fired up and were tired of that streak.

“I hate losing.”

It was the Eagles (3-5, 1-3 TCAL) who entered this season with 24 straight losses in the Tri-County Athletic League, although early season victories over Watsonville and King City, as well as a league win against Gilroy to end its 24-game winless streak, proved this year’s squad was anything like the past.

It even had intentions of a playoff run. But those aspirations are just about over after Friday night. Limited to 151 yards of total offense, the Eagles added insult by being called for 13 penalties for -80 yards.

“We had been preparing all week for an Alvarez team that wasn’t the same as the old Alvarez teams,” said cornerback Matt Vallejo, who had two interceptions on Friday night.

In terms of expectations, Vallejo added, “We were expecting a lot of running in one spot, the C-gap. But we blew that gap up and they stopped doing that because they knew it wasn’t working.”

Little was working for the Eagles Friday night. They actually went three-and-out on their first five possessions, and were limited to 19 total yards in the first half, with -25 yards in penalties.

Meanwhile, the Balers got all they would need in the game on quarterback Michael Bocksnick’s very first run of the contest midway through the first quarter, although the Eagles nearly thwarted the touchdown effort.

After faking the hand-off up the middle, Bocksnick was caught in the backfield and was wrapped up by an Eagle defender, who appeared to be winning the battle. But instead of a 3-yard loss, Bocksnick spun out of the tackle and bounced out toward the right sideline.

He didn’t stop until he reached the end zone 57 yards later.

“It was good that I got trapped in the backfield because they crashed down,” said Bocksnick, who finished with 72 yards on five attempts. The initial wrap-up behind the line of scrimmage brought the defense toward the middle, allowing Bocksnick to eventually run down the right sideline untouched.

“We thank the defense for holding them to a shutout,” Bocksnick later added. “For a moment there, we couldn’t score.”

Penalties prohibited the offense from carrying anything more than a 7-0 lead to the locker room at halftime. The team’s final drive of the first half, which saw San Benito run eight plays, had five penalties.

But the Balers’ second possession in the third quarter — kick-started by Vallejo’s first interception of the game — saw San Benito march 83 yards on five plays, culminating in a 40-yard touchdown run by Hendricks.

However, once again, the Eagles nearly thwarted the scoring effort.

Hendricks ran into a pile off-tackle toward the left, in what appeared would be a 3-yard run, before pushing his way out toward the right side and in between center Paul Cardinalli and his Alvarez lineman.

Yes, Hendricks tunneled his way by an Alvarez lineman before sprinting 40 yards to paydirt.

“He was blocking his guy and I went right in between them. I don’t know how he didn’t notice,” said Hendricks, who is 5-foot-10, 200 pounds.

He finished with a game-high 91 yards on 13 carries.

James Sanchez added 53 yards on the ground, 34 of which came on his touchdown run up the left sideline that pushed San Benito ahead 21-0 with 1:43 remaining.

“This was something we needed,” Cameron said of the win.

With the game very much in San Benito’s control at that point, though, it was the defense that prevented the final score from resembling anything that Alisal managed to do on Oct. 1 — mar a comfortable lead with two late touchdowns.

And the defense did just that.

On consecutive possessions to end the game, Shadoe Valenzuela picked off a Michael Turner (0 of 7, 2 INT) pass in the end zone, both Hendricks and Ryan Di Salvo sacked Turner on consecutive fourth-down attempts, while Vallejo ended the game with his second interception, this time against quarterback Austin Reyes (2 of 7, 10 yards, 1 INT).

Afterward, thoughts quickly shifted from Alvarez to reclaiming the Prune Bowl trophy next week at Gilroy.

“It’s not cruise control. We plan for each game,” Vallejo said. “We’re getting ready for Gilroy, Palma and the CCS championship.

“We lost last year, and we’re fired up.”

San Benito will visit Gilroy next Friday night at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

TEAM 1 2 3 4 F

SB 7 0 7 7 21

EA 0 0 0 0 0

SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter

RUSH (5:44) — SB, Michael Bocksnick, 57-yard touchdown, PAT (Tino Granados) is good; 7-0, SB.

Third Quarter

RUSH (6:14) — SB, Cody Hendricks, 40-yard touchdown, PAT (Tino Granados) is good; 14-0, SB.

Fourth Quarter

RUSH (1:43) — SB, James Sanchez, 34-yard touchdown, PAT (Tino Granados) is gppd; 21-0, SB.

SAN BENITO STATISTICS

Passing: Tyler Decker — 3 of 3, 26 yards; Michael Bocksnick — 0 of 1. Rushing: Tyler Decker — 5 attempts, 37 yards; Michael Bocksnick — 5 attempts, 72 yards, 1 touchdown; Cody Hendricks — 13 attempts, 91 yards, 1 touchdown; James Sanchez — 6 attempts, 53 yards, 1 touchdown; Anthony Cervantes — 3 attempts, -7 yards; James Flook — 3 attempts, 21 yards; Robert Soto — 1 attempt, 10 yards. Receiving: Anthony Cervantes — 2 receptions, 13 yards; James Flook — 1 reception, 13 yards.

EVERETT ALVAREZ STATISTICS

Passing: Michael Turner — 0 of 7, 2 interceptions; Austin Reyes — 2 of 7, 10 yards, 1 interception. Rushing: Michael Turner — 4 attempts, -2 yards; Austin Reyes — 13 attempts, 57 yards; Manuel Melano — 12 attempts, 38 yards; Diego Garcia — 4 attempts, 39 yards; Brian Rodriguez — 2 attempts, 0 yards; William Camel — 3 attempts, 9 yards. Receiving: William Camel — 1 reception, -2 yards; Andrew Estrada — 1 reception, 12 yards.

TOTAL OFFENSE

San Benito — 303 yards (26 pass, 277 rush).

Everett Alvarez — 151 yards (10 pass, 141 rush).

TURNOVERS

San Benito — 1

Everett Alvarez — 3

SACKS

San Benito — 3 (Cody Hendricks, Ryan Di Salvo, Javier Bustillos) for -12 yards.

Everett Alvarez — 0

PENALTIES

San Benito — 14 for -120 yards.

Everett Alvarez — 13 for -80 yards.

JV Note:

The San Benito junior varsity shut out host Everett Alvarez 28-0 on Friday night in Salinas.

The Balers will visit Gilroy next Friday night at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex. Kickoff is 5 p.m.

Frosh Note:

The San Benito freshmen football team remained undefeated on the season when it dispatched host Everett Alvarez 19-7 on Friday night in Salinas.

The Balers are now 4-0 in the Tri-County Athletic League, 8-0 overall.

San Benito will visit Watsonville next Thursday. Kickoff is 6 p.m.

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