As the eighth game of the season concluded, a new team emerged from the struggles and trials many sports teams face at one point during a season. The Gauchos started the season on a very lowly note at 1-3, but now find themselves in a four-way tie for the Southern National division. The win over the Palomar Comets on Saturday night makes the Gauchos at 4-4, not an amazing record, but one that few probably expected early in the season. This new team is playing with more passion, more dedication, and as Coach McElroy said last week – a sense of family, united under one goal, to reach the playoffs. The Gauchos must still win the rest of their games to qualify for the playoffs, but in the position the Gauchos finds themselves, it couldn’t be better.
The Gauchos continue to be led by Sophomore quarterback Tim Belman, who didn’t need to have a lights out game for his team to achieve victory. The real story was how the stars seemed to align for the Gauchos defense, that had six interceptions during the contest. It was not just a matter of interceptions, but the Gauchos defense also had to be stellar due to the “fumble bug,” that caused the Gauchos to forfeit the ball four times.
The real player highlight this week would have to go to James Marshall. Marshall scored four touchdowns for the Gauchos (a personal best), three rushing and one receiving. No other Gaucho scored during the game, (with the exception of Ryan Steskas extra points) Steska had one field goal attempt from the Comets 39 yard line, but missed.
Belman had 27 completions out of 42 attempts, not his best game, but he was never sacked, nor did he throw an interception. Belman and the rest of the team seem to have found the desired consistency, as he put it after the game against Orange Coast on Oct. 20, “We are firing on all cylinders right now.”
Anthony Cade continues to dominate offensively for the Gauchos as well. Cade ran for 109 yards, while Eric Lauderdale continued to be the primary receiver for Belman and attributed 72 receiving yards.
The six interceptions went to six different Gauchos – Darnell Morris, Doug Ruggles, Doak Workman, Miles Edwards, and Denzel Wilson.
The Gauchos look like they could pull off a serious season turn around, the team will have to continue to push this Saturday night at 6 p.m. when they play host to the Grossmont Griffins, this next game will be arguably the most difficult challenge the Gauchos will face this season. The Griffins have been a tough team to play against for conference rivals, going undefeated as of last Saturday when they fell to Fullerton 38-31. (Saddleback defeated Fullerton 44-29 on Oct.13th)
This is also the final home game for the Gauchos, who will finish the regular season on the road against Golden West on Saturday Nov, 10th at 6 p.m.
If you have any questions or need directions you may call (949) 582-4547 or email at GoGauchos@saddleback.edu.