St. Francis High senior Diego Ramirez outruns a North Monterey County High defender for a touchdown during the teams' PCAL Cypress Division game on Oct. 1, 2022. (Raul Ebio - The Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE—At times, it takes a while for a football team with new players on the roster to develop trust and cohesiveness.

That hasn’t been the case for St. Francis senior Diego Wolfe and the Sharks who are off to their best start in school history.

“[It’s] our chemistry,” he said. “I said at the beginning of the season and I felt it in the summertime. I swear, it’s getting stronger everyday, every game.”

St. Francis improved to 6-0 and are now 2-0 in Pacific Coast Athletic League Cypress Division play after a crushing 48-0 win over North Monterey County in league action Oct. 1.

Nethaniel Madrigal-Hernandez said they wanted to start off strong in league play so they can send out a message to future opponents. He scored a 78-yard touchdown in the second quarter that gave the Sharks a 21-0 lead going into halftime.

“It’s just chemistry,” he said. “This week we had a great practice, coach [Ausman] is complimenting us and when coach compliments you, you know it’s a good thing. He rarely does it but he did it, so you know we’re doing a good job.”

St. Francis coach John Ausman said the players are playing like a team, playing fast and they’re having a lot of fun doing it together. 

“It’s a great combo and it’s fun to coach,” he said. “Just how they always continually work, playing for each other. There’s no egos on the team, they all want each other to have success.” 

Madrigal-Hernandez last year carried some of the load behind former standout running back Johrdan Garibay. 

Ausman said that Madrigal-Hernandez took a step back on offense to allow Wolfe to run wild, and he’s been fine with it from the beginning. 

Ausman added that the players have bought into the system that it takes an overall team performance versus individual performances to have a successful season. 

“It’s those guys teaching the younger guys what it means to be a Sharks football player,” he said. 

Wolfe finished with 137 yards rushing on eight carries and two touchdowns, while his teammate Diego Ramirez recorded three touchdowns—two receiving and one rushing.

Wolfe said the mindset was the same as usual, which was to play like they were in a must-win situation and for him to do his job in order to make it happen.

“I think that’s one of our strong points in our team, we don’t come out there all cocky or confident,” he said. “We come out there like [the score is] 0-0 every time.” 

Wolfe credited Ausman for getting the players on the same page and for being well disciplined with them.

“Everyone on the team did great today, there’s no one that’s outstanding or above everyone else,” Wolfe said. “It was a very team win today and it was really cool to see.”

The Sharks posted their third straight shutout on defense and have allowed just 16 points in six games this season.

Wolfe said the defense has been basically winning these games and he’s confident to see what’s in store the rest of the way.

“We’re just going to use it to our advantage,” he said.

Wolfe also mentioned the lowerclassmen such as Gavin Valencia—who scored a touchdown in last week’s win—and defensive lineman Nicolas Ibarra have been a huge presence on both sides of the ball.

“A lot of us upperclassmen are like teachers to them and when we see them step up it’s the best thing to watch,” Wolfe said. “I really feel like their success is coming off our coaching with the upperclassmen.” 

The Sharks are on a bye week and will have some time to prepare for an anticipated home game against Rancho San Juan High on Oct. 15 at 12:30pm.

The Trailblazers (6-0, 2-0) were also unbeaten heading into this weekend’s meeting against Soledad High (5-1, 2-0) in PCAL Cypress Division play.

“If we just come out with the same mentality we had today, I don’t see a problem with us losing,” Wolfe said.

Up Next

St. Francis vs. Rancho San Juan

When: Oct. 15 at 12:30pm

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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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