At 0-2 San Benito faces tough 2-0 Los Gatos

The San Benito High football team faces Los Gatos on Friday.

That wasn’t how San Benito High’s first “home” game was supposed to go. Playing all of their home games at Rabobank Stadium this season, the Balers suffered a crushing 37-6 loss to Wilcox of Santa Clara Friday night in Salinas. The Balers are off to a 0-2 start to a season that will likely get no easier.


They’ll be back on their ‘home field’ on Friday when they take on the 2-0 Los Gatos High Wildcats. During the Wildcats two-game streak they’ve outscored Leland High School 35-9 and Leigh High School 45-0. 

For the second week in a row, the Haybalers (0-2) defense got bogged down early, and the offense, without injured senior quarterback Slade Wilson, could not keep up. Wilcox (2-0) scored on its first six offensive possessions of the game, and by the time the Balers got their first stop late in the third quarter, Wilcox was already out to an insurmountable 37-6 lead.

“We struggled in a lot more ways than on the scoreboard,” Balers coach Bryan Smith said.  “We played a really good Wilcox team, one of the better teams they’ve had in a while, and I’m proud the way the kids fought. Did we execute every assignment? No. Do we have things to work on? Absolutely. We need to get better.”

Big-time playmakers electrified the Chargers early and often. Wilcox running back Paul Rosa was deadly with his feet and hands, and senior receiver Ryan Cooper Jr. and quarterback Alex Adame connected early and often for chunks of yardage that kept the Balers buried.

“Coach (Tod) Thatcher is back as the defensive coordinator in three years, so adapting to the system that we want to use is going to take a little time,” Smith said. “We got to get better. Los Gatos is a good football team, too, so we have a short amount of time to do that.”

San Benito running back Stevan Navarro was the lone offensive bright spot in an otherwise bleak night on both sides of the ball for the Balers. With the game already beyond reach, Navarro caught a 65-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Michael McShane, which set up Navarro’s 2-yard rushing touchdown.

“We have to get that roll going,” Navarro said. “We need to fight more at practice. Practice has been kind of flat. We need to start a winning streak and get a roll going.”

That was all, however, and the continued absence of their senior quarterback, Wilson, is apparent.

“We’re without our starting quarterback, but we’re not making any excuses,” Smith said. “When Slade gets back, he’s going to add another dimension to our football team. Michael (McShane) played valiantly today. He worked hard; he’s a sophomore, but we’re missing a little fire that our offense needs right now.”

Wilson is recovering from Osteitis Pubis, a severe inflammation of muscles in the pelvis, and his return to the field continues to be unknown.

Rabobank Stadium in Salinas will be the Balers home away from home this season until construction on their new field is complete. While the new digs will be something to look forward to next year, the Balers will play all ten games on the road this season.

“This is our home, but we didn’t draw nearly as many people as we normally would at home, and the feeling is different,” Smith said. “We have no control over that. I ask my guys to take control of the things they can take control of and take responsibility for the things they do have control over.”

“That does affect us,” Navarro said about playing away from home. “It’s different. It’s not at home. It’s a different feeling to come out here, but that’s not an excuse to lose like this.”

Cooper was often spectacular, but one play stood out above the rest. Late in the second quarter with the Chargers leading San Benito 23-6, Adame, with a Balers defender at his feet, heaved a desperation pass in Cooper’s direction which the senior hauled in with one hand on his 10-yard line.

The Balers will be on the road again next Friday when they play at Los Gatos High, and Navarro hopes that what the Balers saw in the Chargers 6-3 defense, will help them break through against Los Gatos.  

“Los Gatos plays the same defense, so it should get easier for us,” Navarro said. “It’s going to be a battle. They have a lot of returning starters, but we can’t hang our heads.”

Game Box

Wilcox 37, San Benito 6

Wilcox – Wilcox field goal by Isaiah Flores  

Wilcox – Paul Rosa 40-yard touchdown reception quarterback Alex Adame

Wilcox – Paul Rosa 2-yard rushing touchdown

Wilcox – Alex Adame 2-yard rushing touchdown

San Benito – Stevan Navarro 2-yard rushing touchdown

Wilcox – Gabe Hererra 5-yard rushing touchdown

Wilcox – Alex Adame 2-yard rushing touchdown

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