HS Football, Week 8: Teams try to put losses behind them

Pajaro Valley senior running back Russel Pablo (11) picks up positive yardage during Oct. 6's PCAL-Santa Lucia football game against Greenfield. — Tony Nunez/Register-Pajaronian

Since the beginning of the season, Watsonville’s ultimate goal has been to end a Central Coast Section playoff drought that dates back to 2009.

If the Wildcatz want to achieve that goal, they’ll need to erase last week’s loss from their minds, and pick up a win tonight at Scotts Valley.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Watsonville, coached by Ron Myers, last week dropped to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission division action after a 47-7 loss to undefeated Carmel on homecoming.

While the loss put a damper on the Wildcatz’s league title hopes, they still have a solid shot at earning an automatic berth to the CCS playoffs, as the PCAL-Mission sends its top three finishers to the postseason.

Scotts Valley (3-4, 0-3), coached by Louie Walters, might be all-but eliminated from the CCS playoff chase after last week’s 36-6 loss to Monte Vista Christian — their third loss in as many weeks — but that doesn’t mean the Falcons will be push overs in tonight’s game.

Senior running back Will Schwartz, junior receiver Casey Collins and senior quarterback Kyle Rajala have all pieced together solid seasons for Scotts Valley, which is also expected to receive a boost from the eventual return of junior running back Jamesley Giblin.

Watsonville has had trouble finding success against Scotts Valley in recent meetings. The Falcons have won four straight against the Wildcatz dating back to 2004, including their last meeting in 2016 — a 31-0 blowout.

Here’s a look at the other local high school football games happening this week:

Pajaro Valley at Harbor; tonight, 7 p.m.: The Grizzlies will try to end an eight-game losing streak against league opponents tonight in Santa Cruz.

Pajaro Valley (2-4, 0-2) has found its rhythm on offense over the last three weeks after struggling to produce points during a challenging preseason. Coach Kevin Cordova’s Grizzlies are averaging 32 points per game in contests against Lynbrook, Gonzales and Greenfield, but have found the win column only once.

Harbor, meanwhile, is still looking for its first win of the year. Coach James Gaynor’s Pirates dropped to 0-6 overall and 0-2 in PCAL Santa Lucia play following last week’s 20-0 loss to Stevenson.

It was the third time this season that Harbor has been held scoreless.

Tonight’s game will be the first time the two teams have met since 2013. Pajaro Valley won that game, 41-21, to avenge a 27-12 loss from the previous season.

Aptos vs Gilroy; tonight, 7:30 p.m.: The Mariners keep piling up points and blowout wins. Tonight’s PCAL-Gabilan game looks to be headed in that direction, too.

Aptos (6-0, 3-0) is ranked 132nd in the state by Maxpreps heading into its meeting with sputtering Gilroy (1-5, 0-3), which is ranked 787th in the state.

The Mariners are averaging 47 points per game on offense and have impressively allowed just 67 points all season on defense.

Senior running back Marcos Reyes ran the ball only four times in last week’s win over Alvarez, but managed to total 53 yards and two touchdowns to become the program’s all-time leading scorer — he broke Brooks Nicholson’s previous record of 200 points. Reyes, also the program’s career rushing yards leader, has 14 rushing touchdowns and is averaging 10.2 yards per carry this year.

Gilroy has not had the same success this fall. The Mustangs, coached by Jake Newman, head into tonight on a four-game losing streak in which they’ve been outscored 174-29.

It will be the first meeting between the two teams.

Monte Vista Christian at Alisal; tonight, 7:30 p.m.: The Mustangs seem to have finally settled into coach Jubenal Rodriguez’s Wing-T offense, and they look as explosive as expected.

They had seven plays go for 15 yards or more in last week’s 30-point win over Scotts Valley. The Mustangs (2-4, 2-1) will need a similar performance to keep pace with a high-scoring Alisal offense that has had two full weeks to prepare for tonight’s game.

The Trojans (4-2, 2-0), coached by Cesar Chaidez, have won three straight games, including their last two PCAL-Mission contests against North Salinas and Scotts Valley. They have scored 35 points per game over those three wins.

Conversely, M.V.C.’s defense has been a point of strength. It has allowed just 13 points per game over its three league contests.

M.V.C. and Alisal have not met since the two were members of the now-defunct Monterey Bay League Pacific division in 2014.

North Monterey County vs Santa Cruz; tonight, 7:30 p.m.: The Condors’ offensive struggles arose again in last week’s 30-3 PCAL-Cypress loss to San Lorenzo Valley. Coach Sean Gomes’ offense totaled 223 yards, but was held to single digits for the second time in league play.

N.M.C. (3-4, 1-2) will look to bounce back against a Santa Cruz (1-5, 0-2) defense that struggled in its previous two games — both of them losses.

Coach Bubba Trumbull’s Cardinals surrendered 38 points to S.L.V. and 28 to King City before heading into their bye week.

St. Francis at San Lorenzo Valley; Saturday, 2 p.m.: St. Francis senior running back Andrew Seymour scored more touchdowns single-handedly (5) than S.L.V. scored as a team (4) last week. The Sharks will need another Herculean effort from Seymour to knock off coach Dave Poetzinger’s Cougars.

Since being forced to forfeit their first four wins of the season, S.L.V. has looked like a team on a mission in its PCAL-Cypress wins over Santa Cruz and N.M.C. The Cougars have totaled a combined 895 yards of offense over their two victories, which have catapulted them into league-title contention.

St. Francis, too, looked refocused in last week’s 56-27 win over Pacific Grove. Seymour’s big day helped coach John Ausman’s Sharks produce the program’s highest point total since 2010.

S.L.V. has dominated the all-time series against St. Francis. The Cougars have won the last three meeting dating back to 2010, and hold a 5-1 advantage.

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