Gauchos have to settle for second best

Gauchos have to settle for second best

The Saddleback football team came up short in falling to City College of San Francisco, 26-14, on Saturday in the CCCAA state title game in San Francisco.  The Gauchos rallied late but fell to the Rams in a game dominated by defense.

San Francisco and Saddleback battled for the first 30 minutes with very little offense as the defenses dominated.  The two teams combined for four fumbles in the opening quarter before San Francisco broke through with 3:05 remaining to take a 6-0 lead.  The score would remain the same all the way until half time as both teams were unable to put together consistent drives and when they did would shoot themselves in the foot.  San Francisco fumbled on its first two opening drives of the half, with the second at the Gaucho three yard line.

San Francisco came out running the ball in the third quarter and finally broke through.  The Rams scored on their final drive of the third quarter and first two drives of the fourth, putting the Saddleback hopes in serious jeopardy in taking a 26-0 lead with just 6:45 remaining in the game.  However, like all season, the Gauchos were not going to go down without a fight.  Despite scoring zero points through the first 3.5 quarters, Saddleback rallied for 14 points and came up empty on two straight on-side kick attempts as the clock expired on their season.

Despite being a bit off their game in the opening half the Gaucho offense finished with 393 yards in total offense.  Unfortunately, they couldn't get first downs when they needed them as San Francisco held a 34:48-to-25:12 advantage in time-of-possession.  The Rams sacked Johnny Stanton four times and allowed very little from the running game as Saddleback averaged just 2.6 yards-per-rush. 

San Francisco finished with 438 yards, much of which came on three long runs by running back Namane Modise while the Gaucho defenders were running out of gas late in the third quarter.  Modise finished with 253 yards on 37 carries, running behind a big offensive line that finally seemed to wear down Saddleback's defense.

Saddleback broke through with 5:32 of the fourth quarter when Stanton threaded the needle on a deep pass to Dominic Collins for a 53-yard score.  He again hit Collins for a three-yard touchdown in the final two minutes to cut the deficit to 26-14, but a failed on-sides kick on the ensuing kickoff signaled the final blow.   Collins finished with a game-high 11 receptions for 159 yards while Stanton was 28-of-47 for 303 yards passing with a team-high 42 yards on the ground.

Saddleback finished the season 10-3 while San Francisco finished 12-1 and was crowned national champions following the game.