Ground game can’t compete with explosive St. Vincent
It was the “SV vs. SV” game on Friday night in Sonoma, as the Sonoma Valley Dragons hosted the St. Vincent de Paul Mustangs under a gibbous moon. Following another solid performance by the Dragons JV team – they won 47-14, running their record to 4-0 – the varsity took the field to challenge the powerful Mustangs, 3-0 going into the game but coming off a narrow 14-13 victory over St. Helena.
The Dragons had in mind last week’s near-miss against Terra Linda, 32-29, but despite St. Vincent’s small school size (265 enrolled students) they field an explosive varsity team. For the first quarter the teams were pretty even on the scoreboard, but Dragons’ style of play – a running game focused on short yardage and long drives – failed to stop the Mustangs’ fleet backfield from gobbling up big yards on both running and passing plays once they got the ball.
“When you run 72 plays and they run 20 and you still lose as we did, there is nothing you can really do,” said a dispirited Coach Clay Jackson. “It just was a bad night for us.” The Dragons lost, 42-0.
Just looking at the numbers, it was a closer game than the score: the Dragons had 164 rushing yards, the Mustangs 179; Sonoma attempted five passes with one completion, St. Vincent also threw five times (by four different players) and hooked up on only three – but their 124 yards receiving yards produced two touchdowns, while the Dragons only completion (Trent Ohman to Justin Borgnis) gained 13 yards and, needless to add, zero points.
On fumbles and interceptions, the Dragons had the lead on paper, fumbling twice to St. Vincent’s three, and the picking off Kai Hall for an interception. But for the visiting team, the turnovers led to scores, and for the home team that wasn’t the case.
Tate Baker, who missed last week’s game, had a full workout Friday night, carrying the ball 24 times for 100 yards, while last week’s rushing duo were given less work and ended up less productive: Landen Waldrop had seven touches for 34 yards, and Borgnis had 12 for only 24 yards. Quarterback Ohman tried to run it – or was forced to – eight times for a total of minus 19 yards.
“We did not finish drives. And we did not protect our quarterback,” said Jackson. “We are not a passing team and it is not something we pretend to be.” And on Friday night, they were not a scoring team, either.
“But we take it as a learning experience and move on,” said Jackson, looking ahead to the Sept. 24 Vine Valley league opener against American Canyon (2-2). Again, JV kickoff is at 4:30, followed by the varsity game at 7 p.m. SonomaTV.org will livestream the game on Facebook and their own web page, but it’s always more fun to be there: To purchase tickets, go to gofan.co/app/school/CA23061.