SANTA CRUZ — For the second straight week in Santa Cruz County, the Gonzales football team lost after holding an early lead. The Santa Cruz Cardinals dropped the Spartans to 0-6 overall after defeating the visiting Spartans, 28-21.
“Seemed like our players just got a little shaky after we had taken a two-touchdown lead,” said Gonzales head coach Arthur Berlanga. “They (players), just have to settle down and not panic in game situations.”
Gonzales running back Seth Mays gave his team the lead with a 63-yard touchdown run on the just the second play of the game. A point after attempt by Emanuel Camacho gave the Spartans an early 7-0 advantage. In the second quarter the lead stretched to 14-0 for Gonzales with a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Raul Morales.
The Cardinals got their offense going after the Spartans second score and tied the game at 14-14 with two touchdowns by running back Johnny Soto. A Cardinal interception led to one of the first half touchdowns. The score was still tied until the third quarter when the Aztec used a turnover on a punt return to set up a score by quarterback Abram Soriano and go ahead, 21-14.
Late in the quarter Soto scored his third touchdown to build the Santa Cruz lead to two scores at 28-14. The Spartans kept battling and Mays cut the lead to 28-21 with six minutes to play in the fourth quarter on a nine-yard touchdown run. Camacho added the PAT after the Mays score.
In the finals three minutes the Spartans had the ball two more times and reached their own 38-yard line until a Morales pass was picked off by the Cardinals. For the game, Morales was five of 14 passing and threw the two interceptions.
Mays led Gonzales with 101 rushing yards on 11 carries and scored two touchdowns. Payton Flores had three receptions for 47 yards and ran for 16 yards on five carries. Emery caught two passes for 44 yards and scored one touchdown.
In the junior varsity game the Spartans were shutout 38-0 against the Cardinal JV team.
The Spartan teams will be hosting the Marina Mariners on Friday in the annual Homecoming Game at Dick Force Stadium. The Mariners have lost their last four games after beginning the season with a win over Lynbrook.