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Morgan Hill
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January 30, 2023

After slow start, Live Oak runs to victory

Leading just 7-0 at halftime, the Live Oak High football team knew it wasn’t playing to its potential. The Acorns got right at halftime, as adjustments from the coaching staff and an increased level of intensity from the players resulted in a 35-8 win over visiting Overfelt. Live Oak coach Mike Gemo and quarterback Caleb Ojeda said the team’s lackluster practices bled into Friday night’s game. 

“We started the game with no energy, no fire,” said Ojeda, who had 12 carries for 122 yards and two touchdowns. “We got a great result in the first game (34-3 win over Silver Creek) and then we all got satisfied into thinking we were going to roll over another team coming up from the B league.”

Silver Creek and Overfelt were two of the teams that finished in a three-way tie for the Blossom Valley League’s Santa Teresa Division championship in 2019, and both earned a promotion to the league’s top division, the Mount Hamilton, this season. Through the first two games, the Acorns have outscored them by a combined margin of 69-11. Coming off a spectacular first game, Brandon Hooks accounted for the game’s lone first-half score against Overfelt, a 40-yard TD reception, before suffering a broken collarbone later in the game.  

“It’s a big loss for us for the last three games, but he’ll be ready for his senior year and he’s going to continue making plays,” Gemo said. 

Sophomore Jordan Fuentes showed his durability by rushing 20 times for 90 yards and a TD, following up a terrific game against Silver Creek. 

“It’s really exciting to see Jordan run even in practice,” said Ojeda, who came back strong after exiting the Silver Creek game early due to a lingering quadriceps injury. “You see glimpses of how good his vision is, how good his reads are. He hits the hole, bounces and is elusive.”

Mosiah Saulala had 72 yards on just five carries, including a 60-yard TD run. The Acorns were stout defensively, as Nate Zavaleta and Jacob Enderle in particular had a “great game,” Gemo said. Ojeda added Zavaleta, a defensive lineman, was constantly in the Overfelt backfield with quarterback pressures. Ojeda showed his impact on defense, coming up with one of the team’s three interceptions, with Tommy Dougherty and Aaron Parra getting the other takeaways. 

Overfelt scored a TD when the outcome had long been decided. Gemo said the coaching staff made some blocking adjustments at halftime, which helped the Acorns score 28 points in the final two quarters. The schematic adjustments along with a mental adjustment from the players got the Acorns off and running in the second half. 

“We got into halftime and tried to fire each other up,” Ojeda said. “We waited a year and a half to play but in the first half it looked like everyone was done and had already played 10 games. There was no reason not to be fired up. So we came out of halftime with greater intensity and focus.”

The Acorns’ Brandon Hooks had a 40-yard TD reception in Friday night’s game against visiting Overfelt. Photo by Bryant Hammer.
The Live Oak offense, seen here in the season-opener against Silver Creek, has scored 69 points in two games. Photo by Robert Eliason.
The Acorns celebrate after scoring their second touchdown against Overfelt last Friday. Photo by Erica Bennett.
Sophomore Jordan Fuentes is having a breakout season, averaging 100 yards rushing per game through the first two contests. Photo by Erica Bennett.
Emanuel Lee
Emanuel Lee is the sports editor of the Los Gatan, Gilroy Dispatch, Hollister Free Lance and Morgan Hill Times. An American High and University of Kentucky alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Gavilan College, various youth sports in south Santa Clara/San Benito counties and pro sports on occasion. Two decades of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. With the Weeklys/NewSVMedia group since 2013. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40 (7:24 mile pace), counts himself as a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza. Coaches, athletic directors and parents are encouraged to report scores to [email protected]

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