The practice runs are done.
The No. 10 Saddleback College football team’s mettle will be put to the test this week against No. 7 Mt. San Antonio College.
After outscoring their previous two opponents by a combined total of 124-7, the Gauchos will face a Mounties team that is averaging 33.3 points scored per game and allowing 21.3 points per game.
Neither stat is truly daunting, considering Mt. SAC’s competition. The Mounties beat then No. 20 Pasadena by only five points in their first game. Mt. SAC handled Golden West 33-14 a week after Saddleback defeated the Rustlers 33-23.
The heart of Mt. SAC’s dominance can be seen with a closer look at the ground game. The Mounties are averaging 168 per game rushing while only allowing 2.7 rushing yards per game. This could be a big trouble for the Gauchos’ star running back, Jai Morris.
For the Gauchos to win, they must exploit the air attack. Mt. SAC has allowed an average of 198 yards passing per game. Quarterback David Ingram and towering receiver T.J. Knowles will be the major offensive keys for the Gauchos.
Saddleback was sloppy in game one, but has shown dominance against their last two quite hapless opponents.
The true test of this team will be the mental aspect. Motivation won’t be a hard to find for the Gauchos after a crushing last-second, overtime 23-20 loss.
The Gauchos must persevere and overcome the adversities they will face in this top-10 battle. Saddleback has shown flashes of their ability to rise to the challenge, but the Gauchos haven’t needed to sustain it.
Both teams are talented.
Both teams are ranked.
Both teams are undefeated until Saturday at the least.
One team has to prove themselves as a contender. One team will have to discover a championship swagger.
One team will find these and prove to be victorious.
Can Saddleback sustain a mentally strong, 60-minute effort? Or does Mt. SAC have all it needs to push on?
After Saturday, we’ll know.