SOLEDAD — The key to winning any team game is to get your best athletes out. That was the case on Friday night in Soledad as the host Aztecs outplayed a larger Scotts Valley team with combination of speed and athleticism and won its Mission Trail Athletic League contest, 19-3.
The Aztecs (3-1 in MTAL, 5-3 overall), are tied for second place in the MTAL behind the King City Mustangs who improved to 4-1 with a 49-0 win over the Pacific Grove Breakers. Soledad must win its final remaining to keep themselves amongst the playoff and MTAL title contenders.
“Scotts Valley has size and plays physical football,” said Aztec head coach Frankie Berlanga. “We wanted to match them physically and use the edge that we felt we have in speed. This game we had everyone back to play. Emanuel Ortega returned to the field at running back this week and the week before Aaron Rodriguez came back. Having more weapons gives our team the confidence that we can play better football.”
Spence had scored two touchdowns in the Falcons win over Carmel and followed that with two touchdowns in a win over King City. Scotts Valley quarterback and placekicker Kyle Rajada gave his team a 3-0 first quarter lead by converting on a 33-yard field goal. Soledad took the lead on its second offensive series with a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Robbie SantaAna to Rodriguez at receiver. A PAT by Ulises Uribe put the Aztecs ahead, 7-0.
The Falcon defense double-teamed Soledad standout receiver Angel Olivas for most of the night but the talented junior athlete did catch a 12-yard touchdown pass from SantaAna in the second quarter to help build the lead to 13-3 after a missed extra point.
In the third quarter an interception by Rodriguez led to drive that produced a one-yard touchdown run by Ortega. Soledad tried to stretch the lead to 21-3 but were unsuccessful on a two-point conversion pass play. Two more defensive gems by the Aztecs kept the Falcons from scoring as Marcus Morales picked off a pass from Rajada, and Jaycob Olivas came up with an interception in the fourth quarter with Scotts Valley driving the ball.
With Scotts Valley keying on Olivas, Rodriguez caught seven passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. Morales caught two passes for 47 yards and Olivas had two receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown. SantaAna completed 11 of 16 passes for 219 yards and threw two touchdown passes.
Ortega led the Aztecs with 83 yards on 23 carries and scored one rushing touchdown. Gabriel Florez had one pass attempt for Soledad and gained 11 yards.
In the JV contest the Falcons beat Soledad, 14-6. Josiah Freeman scored the touchdown for Soledad.