SOLEDAD — With three running backs sharing the carries and Josiah Freeman catching important passes from Damien Mejia, the Soledad Aztec football team downed the Scotts Valley Falcons 21-7 on Homecoming night last Friday.
The win helped Soledad improve to 3-1 in the Mission Division, where the Aztecs are tied for second place with Alisal and Seaside. Soledad has an overall record of 5-3 with games remaining against Seaside on the road and Alisal at home.
“We know that to have a chance to make the playoffs or even to win league, we have to win out against our next two opponents starting on Friday at Seaside,” said Soledad head coach Eric Rodriguez. “This win keeps our hopes alive and we earned this win with good plays from our players on offense and defense.”
Seaside entered their game against Alisal undefeated at 7-0 but suffered a 14-7 loss to the Trojans in Salinas on Friday night.
The Falcons took an early lead in the first half on a touchdown by running back Joe Roach, but Soledad fought back with a three-yard touchdown run by Gabriel Hernandez to tie the game at 7-7. In the third quarter, a 12-yard touchdown by Jacob Olivas gave the Aztecs the lead at 14-7.
Soledad running back Kevin Oliver had fumbled the ball before the score by Olivas, but when the Aztecs stopped the next Falcon drive, Oliver displayed his speed with a run of over 40 yards to set Soledad up in the red zone.
On the final one-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter by Richie Urquidez, Freeman made two catches that kept the drive going. Oliver finished the game with 98 yards on nine carries to lead Soledad in rushing. Olivas added 24 yards, and Urquidez and Hernandez combined for 25 rushing yards.
Mejia had a nine of 16 passing performance, finishing with 113 yards. Freeman was his leading receiver with five receptions and 96 total yards. Defensively, Olivas led the Aztecs at linebacker and Roman Barragan as a defensive end.
“Have to give credit to Scotts Valley because even though they are 0-5 in our division, they played hard against us,” said Rodriguez. “We know that our remaining games with be like this one. We were also pleased to get the Homecoming victory.”