SOLEDAD — Angel Olivas scored on a 22-yard pass reception to complete a 24-17 comeback win for the Soledad High Aztecs over the visiting Alisal High Trojans. Soledad rebounded after falling behind 17-0 against the winless Trojans on Friday at Gene Martin Stadium. The victory was the first of the season for the Aztecs.
“We were out of position defensively causing us to give up uncharacteristic plays,” said Soledad head coach Frankie Berlanga. “Offensively we were not focused enough to be efficient. We had penalties, bad snaps, turnovers, and dropped passes. It was very ugly due to our lack of focus and being over confident.”
Alisal built the first half lead with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Israel Corona, added a field goal, and went up 17-0 on an 80-yard punt return for a score by Andres Marquez. The Aztecs cut the lead to 17-7 late in the first half with a 65-yard pass play for a touchdown from Robbie Santa Ana to Olivas and point after attempt by Ulises Uribe.
In the third quarter the Aztecs completed a drive with a one-yard touchdown run by Emanuel Ortega. An Uribe PAT cut the Trojan lead to 17-14. The teams traded turnovers the rest of first quarter as Alisal came up with pass intented for Olivas, followed by an interception by Olivas towards the end of the quarter.
In the fourth the Aztecs sent in Uribe to attempt a field after having a drive stopped the Trojans. Uribe’s kick was true from 25-yards to tie the game at 17-17.
The Aztecs stopped the Trojans on the next possession and received the ball with 3:57 on the game clock after forcing a punt. Olivas came up with a first down to the 43-yard line of Alisal on a pass from Santa Ana. A couple of plays later Ortega bulled towards the end zone before being stopped, but the Aztecs were backed up on a penalty.
Runs by Ortega gave the Aztecs a first down on the 15-yard line. A pair of penalties on Soledad moved the ball back but the Aztecs used the run game to get some of the lost yardage back but still faced a third and 15. With 25.2 seconds to play SantaAna looked to the corner of the left end zone and fired a pass to Olivas who made the catch after getting away from the Alisal defensive back. Olivas hung on for the touchdown to give Soledad a 23-17 lead. An Uribe PAT gave the Aztecs a 24-17 lead and the Soledad defense did the rest limiting the Trojan to short yardage on their last possession of the game.
Addressing his team after the comeback victory, Coach Berlanga applauded his team for playing well in the second half to earn the win.
“We didn’t start the ball game the way we should,” said Berlanga. “Every game is important and we must prepare for each opponent. This week it will be Greenfield at Greenfield and we have to ready for them.”
Offensively the Aztecs finished with 346 yards of offense. Santa Ana was 13 of 300 at quarterback, finishing with yards and threw one interception. Ortega led the Soledad rushing attack 20 carries for 130 yards and one touchdown. Olivas led the receivers with eight receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner.
In the JV contest the Aztecs improved to 1-1 with a 26-7 win over Alisal. Nate Aldrich scored a pair of 40-yard touchdowns, Josiah Freeman scored on a seven-yard pass from Damian Mejia, and Kevin Oliver scored off a fumble return.
“We had a slow start and got going after our first score,” said Coach Rudy Carrasco. “Carlos Cruz came up with two interceptions and overall we created four fumbles. Rodrigo Ortiz kicked our extra points and Jesus Lopez played well on the offensive line. Our defense held Alisal until late in the game.”