Gauchos football takes home conference title for first time in six years

Quarterback Tim Belman looking for receivers down field in a 66-42 win over Grossmont. Belman finished Saturday night 33-48 for 401 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception versus the Golden West Vaqueros. (Michael Grennell)

Michael Grennell


Week 1: Saddleback Gauchos football team loses to Mt. San Antonio Mounties on last second field goal. Final score: Mounties 51 Gauchos 48

Week 2: Gauchos bounce back to defeat the Canyons Cougars 50-34.

Weeks 3-5: Gauchos drop next three games to Riverside Tigers, Santa Ana Dons, and Ventura Pirates. Saddleback is outscored 105-47 over the three consecutive losses. The Gauchos are 1-4, their worst start to a season since 2000.

Since their 1-4 start, the Gauchos have been unstoppable, and Saturday night they completed their mid-season turnaround, defeating the Golden West Vaqueros 48-10 to win the National Division Southern Conference Title.

The Gauchos playoff chances rested on the outcome of two games on Saturday, their game against Golden West, and the game played between Fullerton College and Santa Ana College. If Santa Ana won, they would take the title. If Santa Ana lost, and the Gauchos won, Saddleback would take the title due to their victory over Fullerton College earlier this season. Thanks to a 57-23 blowout victory by the Fullerton Hornets, the Gauchos took home their first title since 2006, when they were part of the Mission National Conference. 

After having only scored two rushing touchdowns through the first six games of the season, running back James Marshall put together his fourth consecutive game of two or more rushing touchdowns. Marshall led the team with 97 yards on 19 attempts, scoring three touchdowns on the ground. Quarterback Tim Belman put together another solid performance for the Gauchos, completing 33 of 48 passes for 401 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.

Over their five game winning streak, the Gauchos have outscored their opponents 245-126, averaging 49 points per game. On offense, they have gained a total of 2,910 yards, averaging 582 yards per game over this span. This is a marked difference from their slow start, when they were outscored 190-145 by opponents, averaging only 29 points per game and just over 393 yards per game.

The Gauchos (6-4, 5-1) will find out this week who they will be playing against in their playoff game on this Saturday.

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