Soledad running back Chris Gonzalez takes a handoff from quarterback Gabriel Florez on Friday night against the Palma Chieftains. Gonzalez led the Aztecs in rushing with 72 yards.
SOLEDAD — First-year Soledad varsity football head coach Eric Rodriguez watched nervously as the host Palma Chieftains got more and more efficient throughout last Friday’s game at the Salinas Sports Complex. Unfortunately for Rodriguez and his Aztecs team, the Chieftains could not be stopped and downed Soledad by a 52-6 tally.
“They (Chieftains) were solid on both sides of the ball,” Rodriguez said. “They established the run in the first quarter and that just opened up the passing game for them. Palma’s quarterback can pass the ball and get away from trouble and for yardage. We played a very good football team.”
Chieftain quarterback Grant Sergent only played the first half against Soledad but made the best of it, as he threw four touchdown passes to three different receivers. Palma built their lead to 31-0 with touchdown passes from Sergent and running touchdowns by Jon Jon Berring.
Soledad was able to get on the scoreboard in the second quarter as quarterback Gabriel Florez threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Angel Olivas with 6:10 to play in the half. A three-yard touchdown run and one last touchdown pass from Sergent sent the Chieftains to the locker room at the half with a 45-6 advantage.
“We had a good performance by our running back Chris Gonzalez,” Rodriguez said. “He carried the ball 17 times and finished with 72 yards. Our quarterback Gabriel Florez threw for 106 yards and threw the touchdown pass to Angel Olivas. Next week will not get any easier as we have to go play CCS champion Gilroy in Gilroy. We’ll just keep working to improve our play.”
Palma completed a sweep of the Soledad teams with a 27-18 win in the junior varsity contest.
Sebastian Ramirez scored two touchdowns for the Aztecs and Kevin Oliver added another score.
“Friday evening’s game against Palma High was a good test for the Soledad High JV team,” said Aztec JV head coach Joe Escarcega. “The team played hard and showed we can compete against a football program like Palma. Sebastian Ramirez, Robert Gonzales, and Fabian Bravo showed great leadership and kept the team moving forward during the game. They also made key plays that kept us in the game.”