The No. 3-seeded Barnstormers’ season ended at the hands of the No. 2-seeded Roseville Bears, losing 31-13 in Elk Grove.
“We thought we had the team to go all the way,” owner and lineman Joffre Longoria said. “It was a heartbreak for a lot of people. We thought we were going to go all the way.”
It didn’t take the Barnstormers long to realize Saturday might not be their day, Longoria said.
In the first quarter, three Barnstormer touchdowns were called back because of penalties, eliminating any early momentum.
“Those calls really put us behind,” Longoria said. “They were good plays and we were never told what happened.”
The three called-back touchdowns forced the Barnstormers to kick two field goals, which Danny Bettencourt converted. Meanwhile, the Barnstormer defense, which was missing players due to injury, had trouble slowing down the Bears’ attack.
After the first quarter – despite controlling the ball – the Barnstormers trailed 12-6.
In the second quarter, the Barnstormers grabbed their only lead. Early in the quarter, after a Bears’ turnover, quarterback Will Kilday hit Greg Walton for a touchdown to give the Barnstormers a slim 13-12 lead.
That advantage, though, didn’t last long.
The Bears struck back with a long touchdown to grab an 18-13 lead. Things got worse for the Barnstormers on the next offensive play. A fumble on Central Coast’s own 20-yard line gave the Bears good field position.
A few plays later, the Bears opened their advantage to 24-13. The Bears didn’t stop adding on, extending their lead to 31-13 in the fourth quarter.
The Barnstormers defense made two goal line stops, but the offense couldn’t capitalize on its chances, Longoria said. In the second half, the offense never found its rhythm and was shut out.
“Defensively, we could have played better, but we were missing a couple of players,” Longoria said. “Offensively, we were banged up after a long season and couldn’t get anything going.”
The loss ends a successful season for the Barnstormers, which included games at San Benito High for the first time and an overall record of 9-4.
“It was a great season for us,” Longoria said. “We were able to play in Hollister at Hollister (San Benito) High. That was really big for a lot of our guys. And we were able to do really well this year.”
Next year could be better as the Barnstormers aim for another league title, Longoria said.
“We had a lot of success this year with a lot of new players,” he said. “I’m looking forward to what we can do next year. A lot of players come from all over to play for us, we just need to find some more.”