GONZALES — Payton Flores ran for 130 yards and scored touchdowns but it was not enough as the Gonzales Spartan football team was edged 28-27 in Santa Cruz County in a game with the Soquel Knights. Flores scored on 20-yard touchdown run but a missed extra point on a bad snap kept the Spartans from tying the game.
“It was a back-and-forth game,” said Gonzales head coach Arthur Berlanga. “At the end we didn’t do a good enough job on time management. We stopped them defensively after our final score, made a defensive stop then had the ball for nearly seven minutes. A couple of flags with time running out forced us to throw the ball and our passes fell incomplete. Our play improved this week and we need that to beat Santa Cruz this coming Friday.”
Gonzales trailed 7-0 in the first quarter and minutes later tied the game on a 32-yard run by Flores. A PAT by Jaime Perez knotted the contest at 7-7. The Knights scored to start the second quarter on a run by Nolan Mass but the Spartans scored on an exciting 85-yard touchdown run by quarterback Raul Morales and added 57-yard touchdown pass from Morales to Flores as Gonzales took a 21-14 lead into the intermission.
Soquel tied the game at 21-all on a run by Jackson Dudek who scored on a 43 yard pass play and scored what would be the game winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter and led 28-21. The Spartans utilized the running ability of Morales to add a new wrinkle to their offense. Runs by Morales and Flores and a reception by Giovanni moved Gonzales down the field and set up the 20-yard touchdown run by Flores. Unfortunately for the Spartans, the bad snap left them trailing by a point at 28-27 when the teams could have been tied with 6:53 left to play.
“In the final possessions we stopped Soquel and forced them to punt and we got the ball with plenty of time remaining,” said Coach Berlanga. “We moved the ball to our forty but we were called for a penalty and were forced to throw the ball. One play gained short yardage and the next two plays were incomplete. It was just a tough way to finish a game. It was just another two minute drill situation that killed us. We did well running the ball but on defense we were missing three defense starters.”
Morales led Gonzales with 156 rushing yards on 14 carries and threw for 66 yards. Seth Mays added 63 yards on 11 carries. The Spartans finished with 349 rushing yards. Gonzales (0-5) will travel back to Santa Cruz County on Friday to play the 0-4 Santa Cruz High Cardinals.
Gonzales lost the junior varsity game by a 28-8 score to the host Knights.
“Offensively we were able to move the ball but were unable to score in the red zone,” said Gonzales head coach Ruben Alvarado. “The offensive line defensive line is getting stronger every week. If we play up to our potential we could turn the tables. Jo Jo Valdez, Jose Lopez, and Jason Flores did a great job on both sides of the ball.”