Even with some late drama, Team Orange held off Team Black for a 20-14 win on a comfortable evening at Pebble Hills High School on Wednesday night.
Team Orange got off to a hot start early in the first quarter as the first-team offense, led by senior quarterback Orlando Puig, scored on two consecutive possessions with passes to rising senior receiver Haredt Gonzalez.
The first score came on a 40-yard catch-and-run to Gonzalez while the second score came from seven yards out as Gonzalez made a leaping catch on the sideline for his second grab. It culminated what was already a breakout spring for the senior receiver.
“I’m feeling a lot more confident at the end of spring,” Gonzalez said, “I also have worked hard on my route running and working with the team.”
“Haredt has always been a guy that’s always been in the shadows, especially when it comes to guys like Justin (Wolfe), Kevin (Averette) and Caleb (Gerber),” head coach Mark Torres said, “He has to step up and I think he knew that entering the spring. He’s been solid for us and worked very hard on everything and now he and his quarterbacks have a lot of confidence in his ability.”
After the hot start, it was the defense’s turn to shine especially when it came to taking the ball away. With a combined six turnovers, the defense had their moments to shine. One of the big playmakers who stood out was rising senior linebacker Kevin Esquivel.
The leading tackler from a year ago made his presence felt for for Team Black (first-team defense) with tackles for loss in the backfield, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble that led to a Team Black defensive touchdown.
“I feel like we’ve gotten so much better over the spring on defense,” Ezquivel said, “We worked hard on communicating with each other and everyone from our secondary and defensive line all got better.”
With just over two minutes left in the game, Team Black attempted an onside kick that they recovered but was overturned after a flag on the field for kick-catch interference.
With spring football now over, Torres likes what he sees from his team on both sides but knows that his team must focus on what lies ahead.
“There was a lot of see-saw back and forth action this spring which was expected,” Torres said, “The effort is always there but I know there’s another level that we haven’t been to yet. I think we’re ready to take that step and if we do that, I think we’ll be exactly where we want to be.”
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