Playing without standout quarterback Xavier Catano, the Live Oak High football team got off to a slow start in a 27-6 win over Overfelt on Oct. 15. The heavily favored Acorns led just 7-0 at halftime and 14-6 after three quarters before outscoring the Royals 13-0 in the final quarter to win comfortably.
“The players weren’t pumped at the beginning of the game,” Acorns coach Mike Gemo said. “It was hard to get going, but once they woke up and figured it out at halftime, we were able to put the game away.”
Live Oak improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Blossom Valley League Mount Hamilton Division play. It has a huge home game against Lincoln on Friday, a result that will go a long way in determining the fates of both teams and their quest for a league championship.
Live Oak and Lincoln are locked in a four-way tie atop the standings along with Leland and Santa Teresa with 3-1 records. Live Oak’s ability to run the ball at will meant it didn’t need a prolific passing game to beat Overfelt. Led by the 1-2 punch of Jordan Fuentes (154 yards on 19 carries) and Nathan Williams (125 yards on 13 carries), Live Oak ran roughshod over the Royals, who dropped to 1-3 in league action.
Williams had a 49-yard touchdown run to put the team up 14-0 early in the third quarter, and Fuentes had a 62-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to account for the final score of the contest.
“Nathan and Jordan made some really good runs,” Gemo said. “They’re able to grind out short yards, but also able to break the big ones. It’s a good combo of power and speed.”
Fuentes and Williams also had terrific games on defense, along with fellow linebacker Aaron Parra, who had an interception and two fumble recoveries, including one in which he stripped an Overfelt ball carrier and in one motion secured the ball. The play was crucial because the game was scoreless at the time and Overfelt was nearing the Live Oak red zone.
“Aaron had a great game, he was all over the place,” Gemo said.
Parra’s other recovery came as a result of teammate Kacper Leonczuk forcing a fumble. Nose guard Tim Quan has come on strong in the last two games, earning a starting role and bolstering the line. He led the team with 1 ½ sacks.
“Tim had a great game,” Gemo said. “He plugged up holes and let the linebackers run free a little bit. He finally found his way, worked his way up and started making plays. He’s a big body kid with a strong lower body and really takes up two big gaps. He’s had two great games and is really helping solidify stopping the opponent’s run game.”
Trent Cousens filled in nicely at QB against Overfelt, completing 7-of-10 passes for 50 yards. Live Oak will have Catano back for the upcoming Lincoln game, which most likely will come down to the wire.
“(Lincoln) has a really good quarterback of their own and we’ll have to do a good job of containing him,” Gemo said. “It’s going to be a good game of our speed versus their speed and a good matchup to see where we stand.”
Pioneer 28, Sobrato 9
The Bulldogs led 9-7 at halftime but were outscored 21-0 in the second half in a BVAL Santa Teresa Division game on Oct. 15. The loss snapped Sobrato’s four-game win streak and dealt a critical blow to the Bulldogs’ league title hopes. Pioneer improved to 4-0 and is one game up on Sobrato, Leigh and Branham, which are all 3-1 in division play.