Junior College Football: Gavilan must stay focused against SJCC

Gavilan's Trevin Kelley (left) lines up for a play right before catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Nate Ellis in the first quarter to put the Rams ahead 14-0 at Monterey Peninsula College Saturday. 

MONTEREY — Gavilan coach Spencer Gilford had just two words for his team following Saturday’s game: Stay focused.
The Rams suffered a heartbreaking 34-33 loss at Monterey Peninsula College Saturday after a the Lobos staged a 27-point second half comeback.
It looked as if the Rams would make one of their own, but were stopped at the MPC 22-yard-line after making a 41-yard march down field. The Rams protection broke down and quarterback Nate Ellis was sacked for a loss, leaving the team reeling and the Lobos celebrating.
“It hurts,” Ellis said after the game. “Any time you lose a one-point game that close at the end it definitely hurts. …We’re going to definitely keep our heads up. A one-point loss is just kind of heartbreaking.”
But there is still hope for Gavilan. The last few years the conference champion has been 4-1, so the Rams are putting this game behind them and getting that ‘1’ out of the way early.
Gavilan will look to rebound at San Jose City College at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Jaguars (2-4 overall, 1-0 in conference) are on a two game winning streak after beating Cabrillo 39-21 last week. SJCC features a dangerous quarterback in Brodrick Thomas who can get the ball down field both in the air and on the ground. He has 720 yards and seven touchdowns in the air so far this season and is averaging 120 yards per game. He led the team in rushing last week, racking up 176 yards and 12 carries with two touchdowns for the Jaguars.
After a stellar first half the Rams’ D just didn’t play to the level it needed to in the second to stop MPC from staging its comeback. In order to get its season back on track, Gavilan needs to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself this week against the Jaguars.
Offensively the Rams feature a powerhouse of their own in Ellis. He completed 20 passes on 25 attempts for 284 yards and three touchdowns with an interception against MVP. The offense does, however, need to do a better job of securing the ball. The Rams had four turnovers last week while only generating two and coach Spencer Gilford said his team needs to stop giving the other team scoring chances if it wants to win this game.
“Our focus has got to be at a much higher level as we enter into conference play — I think they understand that now,” Gilford said. “Unfortunately, I think we’re learning the hard way on some of these things with the experience instead of getting it right the first time. They’ve definitely been focused Monday and at yesterday’s practice. We just go day by day and make sure that we take care of that day.”
Gavilan has yet to win on the road this year, but each time it’s been close. The Rams are looking to finally get over that hump this week as they visit the Jaguars.
“Every game in conference is extremely important and every game in conference is our biggest game,” Gilford said. “It’s going to be another challenge. …This is a great week for us to get that done, to win on the road and win within a tough environment in the conference.”

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