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November 26, 2022

Condors spoil Pirates’ homecoming celebrations | High school football

NMC improved to 2-2 to cap off the preseason

SANTA CRUZ—It was supposed to be a celebratory night for the Harbor High football team which was celebrating its homecoming festivities. 

However, it was North Monterey County High that was having all the fun by spoiling the Pirates’ party in a crushing 34-6 victory to close out non-league action Sept. 16.

Sophomore running back Francisco Calderon recorded a pair of touchdowns including a huge 46-yard run in the third quarter that put the “Silver and Black” ahead for 

good.

After a blowout loss to Monterey 37-0, the Condors were looking to bounce back. Calderon sent a message to his teammates after falling to the Toreadors and they responded on Friday night. “Forget that loss, work hard at practice and play hard like you would in the game,” he said. 

The Condors did have their share of penalties against Harbor including a holding penalty in the fourth quarter that called back a 13-yard touchdown run by Michael Melicia. That possession ended in a turnover on downs for NMC.

“We still had some sloppy sloppy plays, we had some key penalties but we made plays we needed to and came out with the victory,” NMC coach Juan Coach Cuevas said after the game. 

Cuevas echoed Calderon’s message prior to their loss to Monterey, saying they need to practice how they play because it all starts during the week leading up to the game.

The Condors dominated on both sides of the ball throughout the game, preventing Harbor from earning a first down in the second half until late in the final stanza

NMC’s special teams unit came out firing from the beginning with JT Islas returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown putting them up 6-0 after a missed extra point attempt.

The Condors’ defense was able to make up for the missed extra point after forcing Harbor to an intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety that gave NMC an 8-0 at end of the opening quarter. 

In the first minutes of the second quarter, a 7- yard touchdown run by Calderon put the Condors up 15-0. 

Harbor could not find an answer on offense and gave the ball back to the Condors following another three-and- out scenario.

NMC’s offense struck again after AJ Gomez launched a booming 43-yard pass to Anthony Garcia that put them ahead 22-0 going into halftime. 

“We were doing our job, we got our blocks down, and we played hard,” Calderon said. 

Calderon extended the Condors lead, 28-0, in the third quarter with his second touchdown of the afternoon on a 46-yard sprint to the end zone.

Gomez added on to the punishment with a 6-yard touchdown strike to Damian Hernandez to cap off the Condors’ scoring. Gomez finished the night with two touchdown passes. 

Harbor snapped NMC’s run of 34 unanswered points with a red zone touchdown in the last minutes of the game.

Harbor (2-2) will begin Pacific Coast Athletic League Santa Lucia Division play at Gonzales High on Friday at 7:30pm.

NMC (2-2) will enter PCAL Cypress Division league play hosting Soledad High on the same date and time.

Four weeks of action are in the book but Cuevas said he’ll know after next week if they’re ready for league play. Calderon meanwhile is confident about what’s in store. 

“Yeah we got it, we just need to keep practicing hard. Everything starts at practice,” Calderon said.

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