Football: Golden West bounces back from first loss of the season with big win over the Lemoore Tigers
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
VISALIA – Golden West’s first loss of the season could have easily led to two for a weaker team. But the Golden West Trailblazers are no weak team. Instead they took their frustration out on their next West Yosemite League (WYL) opponent, the Lemoore Tigers.
By the time it was all said and done the Blazers lit up the score board with 56 points on the back of 578 rushing yards and 616 yards of total offense leading to 8 touchdowns, 5 of which belonged to Gonzalo Rodriguez.
After Lemoore took their opening possession and rushed it right through the Golden West defense for a touchdown, Rodriguez practically put the game on his back. In the first quarter he tied up the game with an 8 yard rushing touchdown with 5:31 left. After a defensive stop the offense took only three plays to score, capping off their drive with Rodriguez’s second touchdown with 58 second left in the first quarter. Rodriguez scored again on a 31 yard gash up the middle less than two minutes into the second quarter and then had his fourth touchdown of the game late in the half with 3:33 left.
Rodriguez finished his night of scores with a long 45 yard touchdown run at the beginning of the second half. By the end of the game he had not only scored five touchdowns but amassed 223 yards on 20 carries. He credited much of his yardage to the guys up front, especially senior Joseph Felix who was injured for the game against Redwood but was able to return against Lemoore.
“He’s a huge guy coming back…these guys have a huge impact…they are big men stepping up,” Rodriguez said.
“All of [our team’s confidence] came back with Joe Felix coming back to the line…I think we got that all back tonight,” said head coach Paul Prehiem
Rodriguez added that a win against Lemoore was big for his team, particularly when it comes to their back-to-back WYL title hopes.
“[Wins like this motivate] us big time. We’re hungrier than ever, and we’re coming,” said Rodriguez.
And while Rodriguez may have rumbled through the defense and stole the spotlight with his performance, there was plenty of other plays being made. Kai Caudill actually outrushed Rodriguez on the night on fewer carries. His stat line by the end of the night was 226 yards on 11 carries and 2 touchdowns.
Ian Kelly had no shortage of snaps on offense, defense and special teams. He also had an impressive offensive stat line. On only 7 carries Kelly rumbled for 101 yards, but he was kept out of the end zone all night.
Quarterback Payton Allen made his 38 passing yards count as he found Josiah Washington near the home sideline. Washington went up high for the ball and used his frame to run through defenders for the 31 yard touchdown score.
Defensively their head coach was pretty impressed with his defenses ability to adjust. After Lemoore’s opening drive led to a touchdown, the defense stiffened up and managed to get several tackles in the backfield. And not only that, their stalwart linebacker Christian Ortiz went down early forcing the team to adjust.
“I told the team that they can’t just let them run all over us all night long,” Prehiem said. “Not only did they play hard they adjusted to a new scheme after [Ortiz] went out.”
The Trailblazers are going to have to make a run in the WYL this year and get a little luck as well if they want to capture another WYL title. Already the El Diamante Miners are 2-0 in league and their nearest threats are Lemoore and Redwood at 2-1 leaving Golden West a half game back. This Friday the Blazers will try and keep their streak alive when they welcome the Hanford Bull Pups to town. Hanford has struggled this season showing only a 1-6 record but they shouldn’t be overlooked.