On paper, Sobrato and Mt. Pleasant had identical records. The home-standing Cardinals had a strong offense, while the Bulldogs’ defense still had some rough patches.
It had all the makings for what could’ve been a close game. Crumble up that paper and throw it away.
On the football field that Friday night, it was total domination by Sobrato in a 48-6 blowout over Mt. Pleasant in Blossom Valley Athletic League Santa Teresa-Valley Division play Oct. 13.
The Bulldogs bulldozed the Cardinals for five touchdowns amidst 304 yards of total offense including a record-setting day for senior running back Noah Taylor, who broke Jared Jones’ school record of 1,643 rushing yards in one season.
“The blocking scheme was very good,” Taylor said. “We started to connect our plays and all our plays were working. It’s like the best offensive line in school history. The holes are there.”
Taylor led Sobrato with 284 yards rushing and four touchdowns on just 12 carries, putting him at 1,836 yards this season with three games and the Central Coast Section playoffs remaining. His scores came from 42, 48, 10 and 59-yards out.
The second touchdown was on a tackle-breaking run which broke the school single-season rushing record.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improved to a 1-1 record in league play and 4-3 overall. The Cardinals dropped to 0-2 in the Santa Teresa—Valley Division standings and 3-4 overall.
Seniors Lucas Laisure at right guard and Jorge Mendoza at left guard are the forces that lead the way on runs and protect the quarterback on passes. Junior Logan Nielsen adds big-time size with his 6-foot-4, 270-pound frame, as does Gustavo Ureta and tight end Alexandr Kushchanka.
Sophomore quarterback Braydon Hughes completed 6-of-8 pass attempts for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Ryan Hankins caught two of the scoring throws and Parker Orr pulled in one touchdown. The passes were on target and the wide receivers showcased speed to get open, racking up yards after the catch.
The Bulldogs’ defense sparkled throughout the night, as well.
Going into last week’s contest, the Cardinals had scored 20 or more points in five of their six games.
At halftime, Sobrato led 35-0 and held Mt. Pleasant to just three first downs and minus 15 yards of total offense.
Sobrato junior linebacker Luke Anderson was in the Cardinals’ backfield time and time again, blowing plays up and nailing runners behind the line of scrimmage. Laisure and Taylor were right there with him in the middle, stifling Mt. Pleasant.
“Our coaches put the time in, watching film,” Taylor said. “Our defensive coordinator (Jerry Wyness) knows exactly what they are going to do. We were very dialed into that tonight.”
The line and linebackers formed a virtual brick wall. Along with Anderson, Taylor and Laisure were teammates Kushchanka, Leo Fiorentino and Nielsen.
“When our boys lock in and read their keys, they’re pretty darn good,” Sobrato coach Joel Rueda said. “Noah played extremely well and so did Luke and Lucas. And our secondary allowed them to get after the quarterback.”
The secondary included Hankins, Roberto Cornejo, Orr, Gian Pinlac and Johnothan Cruz.
Sobrato started off strong, scoring four straight touchdowns on drives of 42, 72, 48 and 46 yards to build a 35-point lead going into halftime.
On the second play from scrimmage, Hughes threw a deep spiral out to the right end Orr. The speedy wide-out caught the ball in stride and raced away from Cardinal defenders for a 73-yard touchdown.
Oddly enough, the offense actually stalled out a bit after that first drive. But, the attack settled back early in the second stanza and exploded from there on out.
Taylor roared through the left side of the line and scored to increase the margin to 14-0. Hughes hooked up with Hankins on a highlight-reel play, with the receiver pulling in the ball with just one hand.
Nielsen led the blocking for another Taylor score, a 48-yard burst that showcased Taylor’s combination of physical running and speed.
Later in the quarter, Hankins caught a short toss from Hughes for another touchdown.
The rout continued in the second half, which was played with a running clock. The game was called early by the referees with about nine minutes to play, due to extracurricular rough stuff.
“I thought we could run anything on them,” Mendoza said. “We’re going on to try to win league.”
Performances like in the Mt. Pleasant game would be a ticket to success. The league season portion of the Bulldogs’ schedule continues at Willow Glen in San Jose on Friday at 7:15pm.