Balers pound Seaside to end 3-game slide

San Benito quarterback R.J. Clark, seen here running the ball earlier in the season against Salinas, had a career-high 116 yards rushing and three touchdowns in Friday's 38-7 win over Seaside.

Needing a win to keep its playoff hopes alive, the San Benito High football team found a perfect remedy to get back on the winning track in the form of a downtrodden Seaside squad.
The Haybalers, who were on a three-game skid, cruised to a 38-7 victory on Friday in their Homecoming Game. San Benito (4-4 overall, 1-3 MBL Gabilan) has a bye before closing the regular season with a home game against Palma and a road contest against North Salinas.
“We needed this pretty bad,” said Balers quarterback R.J. Clark, who rushed for a career-high 116 yards on 11 carries, including touchdown runs of 16, 51 and 3 yards. “Homecoming Week is pretty crazy, and you don’t want to upset people by losing. It’s a big deal to win this game.”
Neither team scored in the first quarter before the Balers started to slowly pull away. They scored twice in the second quarter, as Clark pulled off some nifty spin moves to escape would-be tacklers before reaching the end zone on a pair of electrifying runs.
Clark’s first TD, a 16-yard run, came after he spun away from a sack. His second score, good for 51 yards, came on a keeper that saw him break a tackle at the Seaside 25-yard line.
“I juke a lot in practice, just because as a quarterback your job is not to get hit by the defense,” Clark said. “It comes kind of naturally to me, but it’s not something you think about doing.”
Balers fullback Hunter Nye had another solid game, rushing for 81 yards on 14 carries. San Benito finished with 354 yards of total offense to the Spartans’ 102. Seaside dropped to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in league play, and they would’ve been shutout for the fourth straight contest had it not been for a strong special-teams effort near the end of the game.
That’s when Dariyn Choates blocked a San Benito punt that teammate R.J. Johnson scooped up at the 5 before running it into the end zone for Seaside’s only score with 1:13 remaining.
San Benito’s offense didn’t commit a turnover for one of the few times all season, and it converted two of Seaside’s three turnovers into 10 points. Ryan Rodriguez and Andrew Sotelo had interceptions for a San Benito defense looking to rebound after last week’s 34-27 overtime loss to Alvarez.
Eagles quarterback Edric Gamble rushed for 222 yards against a San Benito defense that had been stout against the run for most of the season. Clark said it was important for the team to play a turnover-free game, execute well and get a victory, something that hadn’t happened since a Sept. 26 win over Oak Grove.
“It felt like forever the last time we won,” Clark said. “We came out here and fought, and got the result we needed.”

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