GONZALES — The effects of having received his second Pfizer vaccine shot Thursday morning hit Anthony Morales right before kickoff.
“Oh, I had a big headache and my body still aches,” the Greenfield tailback said.
Sitting out the game, though, wasn’t an option.
As it turned out, the senior put together the game of his life, catching two touchdown passes and returning an interception 101 yards for a pick six in the final minute to lift Greenfield to a 33-25 win over Gonzales.
“He told me it’s game time,” Greenfield football coach Adam Barsenas said. “I need to be in there.”
The win snapped a 13 game non-league losing streak for the Bruins, who opened the season with a pair of losses to Soledad and King City.
“I learned from our first game that we can overcome adversity,” Barsenas said. “I went into a panic mood in our opener. This time I stuck to the game plan and good things came out of it.”
Well sort off.
Starring at a 19-0 deficit, Barsenas did make one significant change when he inserted backup quarterback Chris Zavala to run the offense in the second half.
The results were immediate as Zavala connected twice with Morales on touchdowns of 8 and 53 yards, igniting a run of 20 unanswered points to give Greenfield a 20-19 lead.
“They (Gonzales) were challenging us to throw,” Barsenas said. “I challenged our offensive line at halftime to step up. I changed quarterbacks and we took over in the second half.”
Still, clinging to just a one-point lead and Gonzales threatening in the red zone, the Bruins needed a play and Morales delivered, stepping in front of a pass and turning it into a 101 meter dash to the end zone.
“I don’t remember much,” Morales said. “I saw nothing but green grass in front of me. I ran for my life. Our coach on defense always says chase the ball and score. It became a foot race.”
“He made me proud today,” said Barsenas of Morales.
Gonzales (0-2) jumped out quickly on Greenfield, scoring the games first 19 points on touchdown runs from Andre Nunez and Justin Tavares, and a 16 yard touchdown pass from Juan Pablo Ayala to Adrian Perez.
In need of a shot in the arm, momentum began to swing for Greenfield when Alex Perea blocked a punt and Jorge Figueroa recovered it in the end zone near the end of the first half. An Alonso Barcenas 12 yard touchdown run, set up by a Rafael Alvarez interception had them back in the game.
“We found something within ourselves and snapped out of it,” Morales said. “We put in the work. We just had to execute our game plan. Give credit to the offensive line. They were big in the second half.”
Alvarez 27, Seaside 14: The Eagles are off to their first 2-0 start since 2017, while Seaside is struggling for an offensive identity after falling to 0-3.
Alvarez has yet to allow a point in the first half this fall under first year coach and former All-County Defensive Player of the Year Anthony McKay.
“We want to make sure we get all 11 hats on the ball and understand our assignments,” McKay said. “We want to make sure they know where to go so they can play fast. We want to make sure we give them the tools so they can bring the vehicle home the right way.”
Alvarez, whose opener was canceled because of Covid protocols, have come out with fire in its first two games, building double digits leads with a balanced offense.
“From the summer, we knew what our goals were and what our identity was,” McKay said. “We don’t let adverse situations determine where we are. We just try and fight the best way we can. Right now we’re riding the train.”
Having adopted a new offensive system, the Eagles reaped the benefits with quarterback Peter Mendoza tossing touchdown passes of 16 yards to Jayden Brown and seven yards to Devin Gonzales.
“The biggest thing is we wanted to expose the kids to something different and be creative,” McKay said. “A lot of what we do on offense is involved with the kids. There input is important. We’re trying to put them in the best position to win.”
Brown showed off his athleticism in the second half when he took the opening kickoff and sprinted 95 yards for a touchdown. Dylan Uto got Alvarez on the scoreboard in the second quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run.
“Our mindset is if you’re in the Gabilan Division, you’re playing a quality opponent,” McKay said. “Our job is to focus on whoever we got and take it one step at a time. We’re right on schedule of where we need to be.”
Kevyon Vaughns and Isaiah Galutria each had touchdown runs for Seaside, who was bumped into the Gabilan Division in 2020 after sharing the Mission Division title in 2019.
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