KING CITY — The King City High School football team opened the regular season with a 37-20 setback against the Monte Vista Christian Mustangs last Friday night in Watsonville. The visiting Mustangs rebounded from a slow start to after trailing by a 24-0 score at the half.
“We went out right from the start trying to be aggressive offensively,” said King City Mustang head coach Mac Villanueva. “Our offense struggled and we gave up the ball and Monte Vista capitalized on our mistakes. We held them to just a field goal on their first drive and we then we gambled on a fourth and one on our forty that resulted in a loss of yardage on bad snap. You just can’t give the ball back like we did. On the next drive they scored against off an interception. You can’t spot another team 17 points and expect to have chance to win the game. We played much better in the second half, especially in the final quarter.”
King City scored their first points of the game in the third quarter when Clay Barbree took over for starting quarterback Luis Luna who had left the game after being stepped on. Barbree called his own number and scored on a three-yard quarterback sneak to cut the lead to 24-6. A point after attempt by German foreign exchange student Max Pallas cut the lead to 24-7. The host Mustangs scored a touchdown late in the third quarter to push the lead to 30-7.
King City completed its scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run by Matt Morales and a 25-yard touchdown reception for a touchdown by Barbree. On the final drive Barbree caught a pass of 32-yards to set up the score.
“The way we played in the second half shows that we can play with a Gabilan League team like Monte Vista,” said Villanueva. “If we had played like that earlier we would have kept the game closer and even given us a chance to win.”
Barbree led the Mustangs in receiving with four catches for 61 yards and quarterback Luis Luna, playing in the place of injured starter Tommy Stephens was six of 12 for 70-yards and one touchdown pass. Cedrick Perez led the Mustangs with 116 yards on 13 carries. Alex Villasenor was praised for his play at inside linebacker and Joseph Salcido had a strong game at free safety. Defensive back Luis Briseno finished the game with an interception.
In the junior varsity contest the Broncos suffered a 12-0 loss to Monte Vista. Bronco head coach Evan Petrovic felt his team played well in the game.
“Our boys showed improvement from the jamboree,” said Petrovic. “It was the first time playing real football for many of our players. We are looking forward to the bye week to clean up mental errors and continue competing.”
The Mustangs and Broncos will resume play on Sept. 8 when they travel to Seaside to battle the Seaside Spartans. The game will be Seaside’s Homecoming Game. On Sept. 15 the Mustangs will host Gonzales High in the annual Little Big Game.