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January 30, 2023

Live Oak High football team looks to improve through bye week

Mike Gemo and his assistant coaches had a message for the Live Oak High players following their 34-0 loss to Los Gatos High on Sept. 9.

“We moved the ball pretty well against Los Gatos; we just needed a little more effort and that shows with a little more effort in practice and being tuned into that,” he said. “If we give that effort, we can play with the top 10, top 5 teams in CCS right now. It teaches the kids that every practice is important and giving that effort all the time is important.”

After dominating wins over Gilroy and Gunn to open the season followed by a blowout loss to Los Gatos, the Acorns (2-1) are in their bye week, which they use as an examination period to see where they need to improve. 

“We self-evaluate as a team to see what we need to do in practice and see what we have to adjust so we’re better going into the next week,” Gemo said. 

The longtime Live Oak coach said defensive end Mark Galvez and receiver/cornerback Diego Castellanos have been particular bright spots in the early going. Galvez broke his thumb in the team’s second contest against Gunn High but never came out of the game. 

“They put a cast on it and then a week later he went out and played a great game against Los Gatos,” Gemo said. “He showed some toughness there. And Diggy is having a great year so far.”

Castellanos last played in his freshman year before focusing exclusively on baseball, his main sport. Along with quarterback Landon Stump and Dominic Pereira, Castellanos is one of three baseball players who elected to play football in their senior year. 

That has given the team added talent and depth, which should serve it well going forward. The bye week means the Acorns have an extra week to salivate their much anticipated matchup with crosstown rival Sobrato High on Sept. 23. 

The teams haven’t played since 2016, when Live Oak crushed the Bulldogs, 59-13. In 2015, the Acorns beat Sobrato, 65-0. The one-sided nature of the games played a small part in the teams discontinuing their annual series up until this year. 

Live Oak and Sobrato are playing this season as part of the Blossom Valley Athletic League’s priorities in the off-season to maintain “natural” rivalries. The contest will count as a crossover game, but since the Acorns are in the A-league Mount Hamilton Division and the Bulldogs are in the B-league Santa Teresa Division, the result will go into their overall record ledger but not as a league game. 

Sobrato plays at Gilroy High on Sept. 17 before it can start preparing for Live Oak (a game story on the Sobrato-Gilroy contest will be posted at Gemo said the excitement for the team’s rivalry game with Sobrato is already building. 

“A lot of people around campus are talking about it already,” he said. “It’s going to be a big game and great for the community. The players are ready to go and they wish they can play this week. We’re really excited at Live Oak, the student section is really excited, the cheerleaders, the band. It’s going to be a great night.”

Jordan Fuentes and Keaton Dietz combine to tackle a Los Gatos player in their Sept. 9 game. Photo by Erica Bennett.
Xavier Catano shares a nice moment with Los Gatos QB Jake Boyd after their Sept. 9 game. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.
Christian Hauge runs for yardage in the Acorns’ non-league game vs. Los Gatos. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.

Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]

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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