WATSONVILLE — Snapping a five-game losing streak should have been a time to celebrate, with an eye on the future for a youthful North County football team.
Instead, players and coaches for the Condors got a police escort to their bus and to Highway 1 after Thursday’s 21-14 win over rival Watsonville.
“Emotions got the best of a few kids,” North County coach Juan Cuevas said. “Both teams fought really hard. It’s a rivalry. But it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It’s been that type of a season.”
Tempers flared during the handshake after the game at midfield, according to Cuevas, where there was some pushing and shoving.
“It was an emotional game,” Cuevas said. “Some kids didn’t want to let it go I guess. They’re kids. I personally didn’t see what happened. A lot of times it’s someone not affiliated with either team that tries to stir things up.”
On the field, the Condors used touchdown runs from Ryan Ruiz and Chris Rasmussen and a touchdown pass from AJ Gomez to Alex Guzman to finish the year 3-7.
“This season hurts,” Cuevas said. “You look back at the losses we suffered, games we held leads in. Morale victories stink. Most of these kids are coming back. I will remind them of this in the weight room in the off season.”
North County fell by two to Soledad and suffered a three-point setback to Rancho San Juan, two teams that are a combined 16-3. It also couldn’t hold a 26-7 halftime lead over King City.
Tied at 7 at the half and at 14 late in the third quarter, the Condors turned to their running game with Rasmussen and Francisco Calderon taking turns grinding out yards, chewing up the clock after Rasmussen’s go-ahead touchdown.
“My head is spinning right now,” Cuevas said. “We got the kids on the bus. Watsonville’s administration handled the situation really well. A major thank you to them.”
Contributed by local news sources