Football: Balers conquer Cowboys in The Pit

Eric Fernandez and the San Benito High defense, seen here in earlier action this season, were downright stingy in Friday night's win over Salinas.

The Haybalers keep on running over opponents.

San Benito High disposed of its latest foe, Salinas High, grinding out an 18-7 decision Friday night at The Pit.

With the win, San Benito improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the Monterey Bay League’s Gabilan Division. The Balers remained in first in the division and are well on track to earn one of the top two spots in the Central Coast Section Division I playoffs.

Salinas, meanwhile, saw its hopes for the division title likely end as it fell to 2-2 in the division, 4-4 overall.

San Benito came to The Pit two years ago and found itself overtaken late by the Cowboys. The Balers didn’t let that happen in this year’s trip to The Pit, using the running game to lead the way.

San Benito totaled 326 yards rushing on the ground. Hunter Nye, one of the section’s top running backs, had 179 yards rushing on 31 carries. He scored all three of the Balers’ touchdowns.

Carson Schmuckle, who transferred from Salinas to San Benito in the off-season, totaled 107 yards rushing on 18 carries against his former purple and gold brethren.

Nye got all three of his TDs in the second half. The first was a 1-yard run to cap off a 14-play drive with 6:20 to go in the third quarter. The drive was aided by a bad snap on a fourth down that turned into a fake punt run for a first down.

Salinas got the ball back and went three-and-fumble. San Benito took advantage, with Nye going 40 yards for his second rushing touchdown, which proved to be the game winner.

Nye’s third touchdown, from eight yards out, came in the fourth quarter. Eric Fernandez had an interception to seal the Haybalers’ win.

Salinas posted the only score of the first half, when Brett Reade went into the end zone from a yard out in the first quarter, giving Salinas a 7-0 lead.

The Cowboys had several chances to put up points, be it going for touchdowns or field goals, but other tries were off the mark. Each team fumbled the ball away twice. Salinas had 104 yards rushing in the game. Ray Ybanez went 85 yards on 10 carries.

Ritchie Cerda played the second half and totaled 24 yards on eight attempts. Reade was 9-for-19 with an interception for 81 yards total. Drew Schuler had a sack on defense for Salinas.

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