Hollister teams battle strong foes, intense heat

Hollister Junior Midget’s Armando Lerma tries to get past a defender in the game in Gilroy Saturday.

Hollister Pop Warner teams had to battle tough opponents and a
searing heat in road games last weekend. Nonetheless, the Viking
teams came out with one win and one tie.
Hollister Pop Warner teams had to battle tough opponents and a searing heat in road games last weekend. Nonetheless, the Viking teams came out with one win and one tie.

One of the key contests for Hollister was the Midget matchup between the Vikings and longtime rival Gilroy.

Lost opportunities proved costly for Hollister in the game, as they lost 14-12 in a hard-fought contest. Throughout the game, the Midget Vikings’ outstanding defense and special teams created breaks and opportunities, but the offense was unable to capitalize on those opportunities.

Most of the credit goes to a tenacious Gilroy defense that stepped it up each time their backs were against the wall.

The trend began late in the first half. Michael Ballasteros threw a long pass to Ethell Catherill for a first down. But Gilroy’s defense stopped the drive, and the Browns got the ball back.

Moments later, James Barbosa picked up an errant lateral and began streaking down the right sideline.

A heroic effort by a Gilroy defender brought Barbosa down from behind at the 7-yard line. The Gilroy defense came up big again, putting up a brick wall to deny Hollister a score.

As the second half began, Anthony Flores took the kickoff and returned it 35 yards, deep into Gilroy territory. But the Vikings again were thwarted by the Browns’ defense.

When the defense forced a quick Gilroy punt, Hollister’s special teams came through as Anthony Padilla blocked the kick. Robby Sanchez recovered it and got a 7-yard return to the Browns 17-yard line.

This time, Hollister did capitalize. Two strong runs by Flores gave Hollister a first down inside the 5-yard line as the fourth quarter began.

The Vikings opened the game on a draw play up the middle by Catherill to make it 6-0.

Eleven seconds later, Gilroy tied the score with a 53-yard bomb.

A few minutes later, Flores made a big tackle after a good punt to pin Gilroy back deep, and the Vikings defense forced a quick Gilroy punt, giving Hollister the ball at midfield.

That put the Vikings in position to take the game with a slow scoring drive. And it looked like they might do just that as they struck for a first down on a pass from Ballasteros to Flores. But they fumbled the ball away a couple plays later, and Gilroy got the ball back.

The Browns struck quickly again with a swing pass to the open left sideline, and their receiver was able to take it all the way for a 61-yard score.

Gilroy made a two-point conversion kick, putting the Browns up by eight with four minutes remaining.

The Vikings got one last opportunity, and they made the most of it. Adrian Perez got a 15-yard kick return to give the Vikes good field position.

Flores then made his best run of the day, a 30-yard effort as he weaved, dodged and eluded Gilroy tacklers. When the drive stalled, the Browns gave them a break when one of their players was flagged for unsportsmanlike, giving the Vikings a first down on the 12-yard line.

Two good runs by Catherill and Flores gave Hollister a first and goal at the 3-yard line. Catherill scored on a draw play similar to the one that gave the Vikings their first touchdown.

The two-point kick conversion fell short, and Gilroy held on to win.

Except for the two big scoring plays, Hollister didn’t give up much yardage during the game.

The defensive line was strong. Adrian Hernandez, Steve Andrade, Tim Weir and James Barbosa created huge holes in the Gilroy line, stuffing many Brown runners behind the line.

Linebacker Ricky Canes also had a good game, containing the Gilroy attack when a hole did open up.

Jr. Midget

Gilroy Browns 16, Hollister Vikings 0

Like the Midgets, the Junior Midgets turned in an outstanding defensive effort.

The Browns relied heavily on the pass. But Brandon Pina broke up several pass plays, and the rest of the secondary, including Armando Lerma, Luis Bradley, Mitchell Cook, Alex Mottau and Zack Headley covered the Gilroy receivers throughout the game.

On one pass play that was completed, linebacker Ryan Shorey made a touchdown-saving tackle. Justin Reynolds made a big tackle on a fourth-down play and Tyler Gregory recovered a fumble to keep the game scoreless through the third quarter.

The Vikings offense was completely stymied, forcing the defense to stay on the field for most of the second half. The Browns began moving the ball on the ground in the fourth quarter as the defense wore down.

They scored twice in succession to put the game out of reach.

The Vikings offense sparked late in the game as quarterback Evan McFadden completed passes to Ryan Sabbatini and Josh Villegas, but Gilroy’s defense stopped that drive to preserve the shutout.

Pee Wee

Hollister Vikings 24, East Bay Wolfpack 0

Hollister won on the final contest of the weekend, played in 100+ degree temperatures on the artificial turf in Oakland.

It was the Vikings who had the hot hand as they played virtually a perfect game on both sides of the ball.

Head coach Larry Murphy was pleased with the performance of all his players after the game.

The offensive line opened up holes for the running backs, who moved the ball well all day long.

Andre Cornell tallied twice on touchdown runs, while Justin Raine and Tyler Decker scored once each.

The defense made big plays all game. The highlights were interceptions by Cornell, Alex Alvarez and Daniel Gutierrez.

The Hollister Vikings will be at home on Saturday, taking on the perennial championship contenders from Oak Grove.

There will be special festivities at the field all day long in honor of the third anniversary of the war on terror. Games begin at 11am at Andy Hardin Stadium.

Junior Pee Wee

Hollister Vikings 6, East Bay Wranglers 6

The Junior Pee Wees brought their “Purple Curtain” defense to Oakland on Sunday, but an equal defensive effort by East Bay ended the game in a tie.

On the first drive, it looked as if the Vikings offense might catch fire as Taylor Dukes and Mark Neal made some good ground gains. When the Wrangler defense stiffened at midfield, Viking coach Gino Andrade found a new defensive weapon in punter Nathan Castro, who pinned East Bay deep all day long with great punts.

His first effort was especially effective as Mikey Soto raced downfield to cover the kick, and tackled the East Bay return man on his own 20-yard line.

The Vikings defense stopped East Bay cold as Chris Greenwood made a big open field tackle to save a long gain on the Wranglers first possession. Defensive linemen Tyler Pina, Austin Blake, Ryan DiSalvo and Nathan Castro penetrated the backfield and forced a fumble that was recovered by Marcus Sabatte on their second series.

On the Wranglers third possession, Castro came up with a big sack, then Castro and Soto tackled the punter behind the line to give the Vikings the ball in East Bay territory.

The Vikings offensive line of Dustin Rovella, Evan Roascio, Zachary Hicks, Jonathan Roach and Cole Benitez created openings for running back Mark Neal, who ran around and over people to get Hollister a first and goal at the 6-yard line. But East Bay held them out of the end zone.

The Vikings got the ball back at the Wrangler 27, and this time, Neal swept around the left side and was never touched, scoring to give Hollister a 6-0 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the Vikings defensive display continued as DiSalvo, Pina and Castro all had sacks. Blake tackled several Wrangler runners in the backfield. But late in the quarter, the Wranglers got one big play from their halfback, who outran the Hollister defense down the left sideline for a touchdown.

Linebacker Mark Neal kept the game tied by stuffing the conversion attempt.

Neither team could score in the fourth quarter as the defense stepped up. Hollister had big tackles by Castro, Sabatte, Adolfo Davila and Dan Buzzetta.

Mighty Mites

Hollister Vikings vs. East Bay War Eagles

Although Pop Warner doesn’t keep score in this instructional division, the Mighty Mite Vikings performance in this game had the coaches and parents excited as Hollister shut down the War Eagles offense for most of the game.

The Mighty Mites seemed to be the least affected by the intense heat. Marcus Darnell made tackles all over the field and Trevor Tresch had a sack. Austin Nye was also a big contributor on defense, and Tyler Fhurong had an interception.

The offense made some big plays as well. Quarterback Austin Wahl ran a 40-yard sweep to the one-yard line as the first quarter ended.

Mike Inderbitzen plunged into the end zone on the next play. Fhurong, the Vikings’ other quarterback, also crossed the goal line on a 41-yard bootleg play late in the contest.

Viking special teams excelled as Dylan Lomanto had a long punt return, and Wahl had a 35-yard punt in the second quarter, which is almost unheard of at the Mighty Mite level.


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