Dragon gridders get back-to-back wins

Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune Sonoma's Jonathan Shelton (#51) separates El Molino quarterback Jacob Sani from the ball during Friday night's game. Sonoma's Kole Morgan (#85) and Gavin Lehane (#51) look to pounce on the loose ball.


The Sonoma Valley High gridders made it two wins in a row Friday night as they beat the El Molino Lions, 27-21, in the Dragons’ Homecoming game.

It was Tyler Winslow’s night as he scored two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass and got credit for an interception as the Dragons jumped out to a 14-0-halftime lead and never trailed.

Sonoma took the opening kickoff and drove 71 yards in 12 plays capping it off with Winslow’s two-yard plunge into the end zone and with the extra point, the Dragons had a 7-0 lead at the 6:20 mark.

On the ensuing kickoff, El Molino put together a drive that took the Lions down to the Sonoma 30 when Winslow took the ball from a Lion receiver. A dead-ball foul gave the Dragons good field position at their own 45-yard line.

The Dragons didn’t waste any time taking the ball down field. In the Lion red zone, Dragon quarterback Rocko Wetzel handed off to Winslow who took two steps and fired a touchdown pass to Gavin Koler. And less than a minute into the second quarter, the Dragons were up 14-0.

The Dragon defense stymied the Lion offense on the next series forcing El Mo to punt. As players were standing around watching the bouncing punt, Jesse Ortiz ran into the pack, scooped the ball up and took off. While Ortiz didn’t reach the end zone, his run-back gave the Dragons great field position. Sonoma drove down inside the El Mo 10, and when their drive stalled, they tried a field goal that was wide.

On the ensuing drive, El Mo used a swing pass to pick up 62 yards and land on the Sonoma 18-yard-line. But a tipped pass ended up in Koler’s hands stopping the Lions and preserving a 14-0-halftime lead.

The Lions came out in the third quarter and marched down the field, scoring on a 25-yard touchdown pass cutting the Dragon margin to 14-7.

But the Dragons put together an 85-yard drive that took almost 5-1/2-minutes. Wetzel plunged in from about one-yard out to give the Dragons a 21-7 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Dragons again put together a drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Winslow. While the extra point was wide, the Dragons’ lead was 27-7.

El Mo didn’t waste any time in getting the touchdown back as they took to the air and put together an 80-yard drive that only took a little more than a minute off the clock. But Andrew Beatty broke through and blocked the extra point giving the Dragons a 27-13 lead.

The Lions then tried an onside kick which Beatty recovered, giving the Dragons excellent field position.

Sonoma turned the ball over on downs, but it was deep in El Molino territory. But again, the Lions put together a drive through the air and scored another touchdown with 3:28 left in the game. All of a sudden, Sonoma’s comfortable lead was back to seven points at 27-20.

El Molino had one last chance with 1:20 left in the game, starting on their own 20. But Dragon Coach Bob Midgley had his secondary playing deep and in the closing moments, Gavin Lehane sacked the El Mo quarterback to put an end to the threat.

And the Dragons had a 27-20 Homecoming win.

“We made that a close game,” a relieved Midgley said after the game. “But it was a good team win.”

He said Winslow’s halfback pass was something they worked on after seeing El Mo films. “We thought they’d come up hard,” Midgley said.

Midgley praised the offensive line for the holes they created. “The ‘O’ line was staying on their blocks,” he continued.

“It was a fun game,” he added.

The win gives the Dragons a 3-4 overall record but a 3-2 Sonoma Conference League record in their last year in the SCL.

The JV Dragons felt defeat for the first time this year, losing 15-14, and finishing the year with a 7-1 record. Coach Hervy Williams singled out Ty Vanderlinden, Jake Baker, Jose Garcia and Sebastian Mercado for their play this year.