As the fog and mist slowly rolled in, the Gauchos offense quickly started their own downpour on Saturday night against the OCC Pirates. The Gauchos (now 3-4) have their backs against the wall, they must win out in order to qualify for the playoffs. The OCC Pirates came into town on a three game losing streak, and left with a four. The Gauchos offense quickly exploded for a quick 21-0 first quarter lead, lead by Quarterback Tim Belman the Gauchos compiled a total of 599 offensive yards in 81 offensive plays. Belman went 20 for 33 with two interceptions, and passed for two touchdowns, Belman’s offensive line was also key for the teams success, they allowed just one sack during the contest. On the other side, Saddleback’s defense punished the Pirates offense, sacking quarterback Cameron Biedgoly eight times, and forcing him to settle with his 20 completions out of 34 attempts with one interception. That single interception nearly set the tone for the game, Erik Nelson a linebacker ran for a 51 yard touchdown and the Gauchos never looked back. With the first quarter all Saddleback, the Pirates looked to regain some confidence on any level, the Pirates looked dejected and out of the game before it was half over. The second quarter was a bit more forgiving for the Pirates as they managed to score 13 points before the half. But the Gauchos defense never let the Pirates back into the game, they continued to punish players physically, and one hit really stood out and set a tone, a Pirates player received a pass, then had his legs taken out from under him, sending him through the air in a spiral and then quickly to the ground, from the other side of the field, the Pirates coaches were furious and were adamant that a penalty be charged to the Gauchos, no such penalty was called. The player was uninjured on the play and regained his footing without assistance.
Anthony Cade, James Marshall, and Josh Hawkins all scored touchdowns for the Gauchos in their offensive onslaught of the Pirates. Cade and Marshall had a stellar game for the Gauchos, Cade added another 180 yards to his impressive college career, while Marshall added another 115 yards to his own. Cade now has 456 net yards for the 2012 season by far the most on the team, second is Hawkins at 145 and third is Marshall at 144.
Belman’s season totals also continue to improve, his passing percentage is 58.9% and climbing, as well as his total touchdowns on the year at 10. Belman also continues to improve on his total offensive yards, now averaging at 229.3 yards per game.
As the game came to a close, Saddleback players kept their spirits up, and rejoiced in their only winning streak of the season at 2. It may be a short streak but the Gauchos will need to continue their push as the playoffs approach, just one loss and the Gauchos will not qualify, maybe this is what the team needed? A little fuel for the fire perhaps, after the game Head Coach Mark McElroy had some choice words for his team, he preached the power of being a family, a collective group with one goal – to make the playoffs. McElroy then continued to bring up past teams that also had their backs against the wall, one team he mentioned was the St. Louis Cardinals, (the 2011 World Series champions) The Cardinals were at two points, one strike away from failing to win the series, yet with their backs against the wall, they managed to prevail. This is what McElroy told his players, that they still had that one strike left, and they needed to get a hit to stay alive. Belman also said after the game that this game was the best the team has felt all season, an analogy he used was “We are firing on all cylinders right now.”
The next contest will be held at Escondido High School as the Palomar Comets (3-4, 1-2) host the Saddleback Gauchos, (3-4, 2-1) Saturday, Oct. 27th at 6 PM.
The final home game for the Gauchos will be on Saturday, Nov. 3rd against Grossmont, at 6 PM.