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February 8, 2023

Mustangs lose heartbreaker to Scotts Valley | High school football

Aptos, NMC, Watsonville also lose in PCAL action

WATSONVILLE—The Monte Vista Christian football team had a chance Friday night to get back on course for a potential run into the Central Coast Section postseason.

Instead, the Mustangs hit a major bump on the road in a 7-0 loss to Scotts Valley in Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission Division action.

With the loss, MVC drops to 3-4 this season and is now 1-3 in league play.

“Just a heartbreaker, quite frankly we just gotta finish,” MVC coach JB Williams said after the game.  

The Mustangs got down into the red zone three different times, however, they failed to convert once. 

They were called for an offside penalty on a wide open touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Dominic Pierini to sophomore receiver Nico Downie. 

Other mistakes included a dropped a pass attempt in the corner of the end zone and a turnover on downs that stalled a 12-yard, 60-yard drive.  

The offense couldn’t pick up the blitzes at the very end of the game, as well. 

The Mustangs were on a 15-play, 76-yard drive that took them down to Scotts Valley’s 4-yard line in the fourth quarter.

Pierini was sacked twice to end the game including a third-and-goal play that pushed them back to the Falcons’ 18-yard line.  

“That was a big loss and for it to come all the way down, 7-0, and to leave all those points on the field like, you feel it deep in the bottom of your gut and it hurts,” Williams said.

Pierini completed 12-of-18 pass attempts for 111 yards and one interception in the second half.

Williams mentioned the players had a great week of practice and he knows how much they wanted the victory, especially on Senior Night.

“The losses always feel worse than the wins feel good,” he said.

Sophomore running back Connor Pallott was instrumental in the Mustangs’ final attempt to tie, or take the lead, by tallying 65 yards on 10 carries on their final drive. 

“I would go for two-[point conversion], absolutely,” Williams said. “Especially the way we were running the ball and we were just driving it right down.”

Pallott came in for senior Jamie Ledesma, who was still recovering from a concussion he sustained early in the season. Williams said he’s extremely cautious when it comes to injuries involving the brain and head.  

“We made the call, I love Jamie to death and I know he’s heartbroken about it, but I didn’t feel he was all the way back,” Williams said. “I felt like Connor put us in the best place to win, at that point and time.”

Williams told the players to hold their heads up high and praised the defense in particular, especially for holding the Falcons even when they drove down the field. 

Scotts Valley senior Cole Leonard missed a 42-yard field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter that could’ve put the game out of reach. 

“A few huge plays. I thought the defense, specifically after the first drive, played amazing,” Williams said.

Williams mentioned it was nice to have sophomore linebacker Rykin Resurreccion back on the field and senior defensive end Luke Lange, who made his return on the edge.

“[Lange’s] just a beast,” Williams said. “He changes the dynamic of our entire line.”  

The Mustangs were missing a majority of the players including both Resurreccion and Lange in a 34-24 win against North Salinas on Oct. 27. 

They took the bye week to rest up and were ready to go against Scotts Valley.

Kyle Recotta was a main threat on defense and Brandon Swing did an excellent job as the cutback guy for MVC.

The defensive line, which recovered a fumble in the first quarter, was led by Miles De La Paz and senior defensive linemen Reagan Rivera. 

“We ran a formation, they had their linebackers four yards off and after that first drive moved up closer into the box,” Scotts Valley coach Louie Walters said. “They made some good adjustments.” 

Senior defensive back Tate Shaw made some big tackles on the outside,  and senior free safety John Sullivan, who sat out last season, was also an impact on defense.

“As you can see they started hitting the toss and they were trying to go outside when we were stuffing the middle,” Williams said. “They did their job, they did a good job. But it’s the entire defense.” 

Pallott, who also plays strong safety, was a big presence all over the field on Friday night. 

“Being able to play the pass and still run the alley, as [Pallott] did, and get all the way up there was phenomenal,” Williams said. 

Williams said they’re going to flush away the loss and try to regroup before closing out the season. 

The Mustangs will play at Soquel on Oct. 28 at 7:30 pm, followed by the regular season finale at Carmel on Nov. 5 at 2pm.

Week 9 Scoreboard

Friday

Palma 24, Aptos 21: Sophomore kicker Gio Gutierrez made a 28-yard field goal with one second left to help the Chieftains sneak past the Mariners in PCAL Gabilan Division action Friday night.

It was a battle between the last two undefeated teams in the Gabilan Division at Rabobank Stadium in Salinas.

With the win, Palma coach Jeff Carnazzo earned his 200th career victory in what has been a historic 23-year career. He tied the county record with former Palma coach and Hall of Famer Norm Costa.

The Mariners (6-2, 3-1) will host Alisal (3-5, 1-3) on Oct. 28, followed by the regular season finale against Hollister (5-4, 3-2) on Nov. 4. Both games are scheduled for 7:30pm.

Rancho San Juan 28, North Monterey County 25: The Condors saw a 25-7 halftime lead slip away in a loss to the Trailblazer in PCAL Cypress Division play Friday night.

RSJ began chipping away at the deficit beginning with a touchdown pass from quarterback Nolan Tompkins to Andre Nevarez that made it 25-14 in the third quarter.

Senior running back Peyton Hatten scored a touchdown for RSJ that cut the Condors’ lead to 25-22 midway through the fourth quarter.

Before they knew it, Ian Rey had a pick-six for the Trailblazer that gave them a 28-25 lead over NMC with 1:24 left in the game.

NMC (2-7, 0-5) will head into the bye week before finishing the season at Watsonville (2-6, 0-4) on Nov. 3 at 7:30pm. 

Pacific Grove 24, Watsonville 0: Senior running back Noah Garry records a pair of touchdowns for the Breakers in a win over the Wildcatz in PCAL Cypress Division action Friday night.

It’s the fifth time and fourth league game that Watsonville has been shutout this season. 

The Wildcatz (2-6, 0-4) will try to bounce back at Rancho San Juan on Oct. 28 at 7:30pm, followed by the season finale at home against North Monterey County on Nov. 3 at 7:30pm. 

Saturday

Pajaro Valley vs. Harbor, 12:30pm

St. Francis vs. King City, 12:30pm

Juan Reyes
A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.

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