Frank Solis’ first victory as the El Capitan High football coach will be one he’ll never forget.
The Gauchos (1-3) stormed back from a 28-point deficit in the first half and forced overtime with a late touchdown pass from Kevin Reid to Adrian Moreno with 1 minute and 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The Gauchos then converted on fourth-and-goal from the King’s Academy 20-yard line as Reid against found Moreno in the back of the end zone in overtime and the El Capitan defense held the Knights scoreless on their overtime possession as the Gauchos won a thriller 41-35 on Friday night in Sunnyvale.
“This was big,” said Solis, whose team improves to 1-3. “We talked to them about it, how this is something they’ve got to want. Now that they’ve got it we can see the type of kids they are. They really deserved it. They needed it.”
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Reid and running back Ethan Meza led the comeback.
“Ethan Meza had a great game for us,” Solis said. “He rushed for three touchdowns. Kevin Reid really got going in the second half. He threw for three touchdowns in the second half. He got on a roll.”
Solis made an interesting decision after winning the coin toss before overtime. The Gauchos coach decided to start on offense.
With each team guaranteed an offensive possession, starting on the opponent’s 10-yard line, most coaches opt to start on defense. By going on offense second, you have the advantage of knowing what your offense needs to do to win or extend the game another overtime.
“We had the momentum,” Solis said. “I could see in our kids’ eyes they wanted it.”
Solis gambled again when his team faced fourth-and-goal from the 20-yard line after a sack pushed the Gauchos offense back. Rather than try to a field goal, Solis went for it.
It was the right call as Reid connected with Moreno on a seam route in the back of the end zone to give El Capitan a 41-35 lead. The Gauchos went for the two-point conversion but were stopped.
The Gauchos defense took over from there, stopping the Knights on their offensive possession in overtime to preserve the victory.
“Our defense came out and played hard,” Solis said. “All I can say is they did their job assignments. They did what we asked them to do.”
The win set off a wild celebration for a team starving for a victory.
“They believe in themselves,” Solis said. “A few games we’ve seen bits and pieces of they can do. I guess you can say we saw a little more tonight.”