NAPA, Calif - Football has a way of being humbling, even if you win. That was certainly the case for Vintage in its 48-7 victory over Justin-Siena.
Sure, the Crushers got the win, but there were way too many mistakes for them early in the contest. It’s something Vintage coach Dylan Leach would like to clean up before the North Coast Section playoffs start.
“I think it was a product of our practices,” he said as to why they were so sloppy. “We have multiple guys miss practices, we had a lot of sicknesses. It was a product of practice and that’s plain and simple.”
“I thought in the first half we played pretty well,” Justin-Siena coach Brandon LaRocco said of his team’s effort. “We defended the run pretty well and then they just wore us down. They had a couple (of) good veer plays that we got beat (on). We weren't assignment sound on those plays and they took advantage of it and I think they just kind of wore us down over the course of the game.”
Despite all the obstacles, the Crushers (7-1 overall, 4-0 Vine Valley Athletic League) were able to showcase their defense from the opening drive of the game when Kyle Dandini intercepted Justin-Siena quarterback Hudson Beers and returned it for a 64-yard pick-six with 9:53 left in the first quarter.
Later in the quarter, Pedja Zivkovic plowed into the end zone from 15 yards out to give Vintage a two-score lead with 6:34 left.
The Braves (6-3, 2-3 VVAL) got their lone score of the game when Beers rolled out of the pocket and found Miles Williams for a 58-yard touchdown with 1:24 remaining in the first half.
However, the Crushers went back up by two scores only a few seconds later when Jacob Aaron found Sam Neal in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown with 49.1 left. The scoring play was set up when Aaron found Cutler Low for a gain of 25 yards.
After the half, Vintage just pulled away. Aaron had a pair of rushing touchdowns, one from 58 yards out and the other from seven yards away in the third quarter to give the Crushers a commanding 35-7 lead.
Mauricio Castro also found the end zone in the third quarter from 13 yards out. The final score came when Dylan Smith plunged into the end zone from a yard out in the fourth quarter.
“In the second half, I thought we came out and played who we are,” Leach explained. “We showed who we were and we played well. We created some turnovers and we ran the ball a lot better in the second half.”
League play will continue next Friday night, but with very much uncertainty. Vintage is scheduled to visit Sonoma Valley at 7 p.m. However, Sonoma Valley’s game against Petaluma ended with a brawl and many players being ejected. This means Vintage could get a forfeit win if the game doesn’t happen.
As for Justin-Siena, they’ll head into their bye week after a nine-week stretch of games.
“It’s nine games in a row, so that’s a lot for anybody to play without a break,” LaRocco said. “I think we all need a little bit of time to let our bodies rest, let our minds rest. You know, focus on ourselves a little bit more instead of worrying about what everybody else is doing, you know, trying to work on scheme and game plans and all that stuff. It gives us a chance to work on ourselves and the things that we need to fix.”
The Braves will finish the regular season on November 1st when they host American Canyon.