Saddleback College football team battles for Southern Conference

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Quarterback Ricky Bautista gives the Gauchos an offensive advantage (courtesy of Saddleback Sports information office)

Saddleback College football celebrated a victory last Saturday against Palomar College. The Gauchos won their Southern Conference opener 42-31 in a game played at Escondido High School. Saddleback is now 1-0 in conference play and 1-3 overall.

The Gauchos are rebounding from a rough start to the season. Head coach Mark McElroy knows his team needs to represent the tradition of Saddleback football by playing with some pride and swagger.

“I think we have a good football team. The young men came down to Palomar with a strong sense of purpose,”  McElroy said. “The main purpose of our success [was that] we played with a lot of inspiration.”

Having Ricky Bautista as quarterback and leading the offense, McElroy knows that his team needs to be very physical on defense.

“We want to play fast. We want to play hard and we want to finish,” McElroy said, “We like to mix it up, play fast on defense.”

The strength of the Gauchos is running the ball. Saddleback has to execute in all phases of the game, including not turning the ball over as much as they have in the past.

“In the game with El Camino we had six turnovers and we only forced one.” McElroy said. “We were on the plus side of the turnover battle [today].” “Our thoughts are [ that] we have to win this game this week.” McElroy said. “We always have good games against Santa Ana.”

The Gauchos defeated Santa Ana Dons last Saturday night, 27-15.  Saddleback now has a two-game win streak and their record improved to 2-3 on the season.