Sports & Recreation

Balers remain unbeaten in league play

Defensive stand on the 1-yard line and an interception give team a comfortable lead heading into second half.

The San Benito High School football team ran past Everett Alvarez High School for a 31-8 win on Oct. 18 with a 294 rushing yards performance. The Balers are 3-0 in Gabilan League play.

The Balers’ offense, led by running back Juan De Leon, fired on all cylinders from the kickoff and took an 8-0 lead on their opening drive with three plays totaling 68 yards. On the first play, De Leon ran 60 yards and set up running back Matthew Felix’s 5-yard touchdown run two plays later.

“Coach talks about that it’s good to have multiple guys to coach, not just relying on one guy,” De Leon said. “Having the next guy ready, whoever it is.” 

At the game, De Leon covered 137 yards in seven carries, including a 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He also had the Baler’s only reception in the game for three yards.

Unlike their first scoring drive, the Baler offense stitched together a nine-play, 72-yard drive to take a 16-0 lead in the second quarter. The drive featured three different running backs and a second touchdown by Felix on a 10-yard play.

“We were able to play some solid football and we were looking and waiting for that the last six weeks,” head coach Bryan Smith said.  

The Alvarez Eagles were not going to leave Andy Hardin Stadium without a fight though, and on the following drive they moved forward 81 yards. San Benito High’s defense came up with a stop on a fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, which kept the Eagles from the end zone. 

“Our defense bends, but it didn’t break,” Smith said. 

With less than a minute left, the Baler defense executed another big play to end the half. With the ball on San Benito High’s 47-yard line, Baler Ricardo Navarro came up with an interception. The six-foot, 250-pound defensive tackle maneuvered around two players from Alvarez for the touchdown to give the Balers 24 points.

“I think it was our first score on defense today,” De Leon said. “Just looking forward for more of those scores and the defense playing really good.”

The Eagles scored in the fourth quarter following a missed field goal attempt by the Balers. In the drive, the Eagles had five plays of 14 yards or more, including the 16-yard touchdown catch by running back Braden Arriaga-Lopez. He finished with 65 yards on eight runs and three catches. 

“We’re still a young team and we need to learn how to squash the other teams when they are down,” Smith said. “That was the mentality in the second half. I’m not sure we accomplished that the way we would have liked to.”

 San Benito allowed 111 yards in the second half and 92 in the first.

“I thought we did what we were supposed to do with the football game,” Smith said. “I was extremely impressed with our defense.”


Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.