Trailing by 12 points entering the fourth quarter, the Sobrato High football team looked like it was headed to its fourth loss in as many games. This time, the Bulldogs produced a different ending, scoring 13 unanswered points to squeak out a 21-20 win over Willow Glen on April 8.
“The boys showed they could finish a game,” Sobrato coach Jubenal Rodriguez said. “They’re still trying to find their identity, they’re learning how to practice, they’re learning how to read a scouting report, they’ve learned how to start a game. Now they’ve learned how to finish one.”
Indeed, the Bulldogs scored two touchdowns in the final six minutes of action, the penultimate one from Nathan Ortiz and the final TD from Seth Iven, a 15-yard reception with approximately 40 seconds left. Iven also kicked the point-after to account for the final margin.
“This was definitely one for the books, a program-defining win in this new era,” said Rodriguez, the first-year Sobrato coach. “I had never experienced something like this, and I’m glad it was with this group.”
According to Rodriguez, sophomore quarterback Seth Herdenstet passed for 217 yards, which is huge considering the Bulldogs have been inconsistent with their passing game this season. Ortiz had a breakout game, scoring two of the team’s three TDs and making an impact all over the field—literally. Ortiz played receiver, running back, safety and even had some reps at QB in a dazzling performance.
After Sobrato cut its deficit to 20-14 with around six minutes remaining, Willow Glen drove down the field but was stopped on a fourth-down play deep in Sobrato territory. The Bulldogs then proceeded to go 80 yards for the final TD. With just two senior starters and three freshmen starters along with several sophomores, the future does look bright for Sobrato, which will return the majority of its team in the fall for the 2021 season.
“To have this as a building block is exciting,” Rodriguez said. “It was all smiles at the end, and we’re definitely learning how to pull it all together as a program.”
Two of Sobrato’s three losses came by four points or less, making its performance effort all the more rewarding.