The Huntington Beach High football team and Green Valley, from of Henderson, Nev., had to shake off a lot of rust before settling into a defensive battle on Friday at Cap Sheue Field.
Both teams suffered from unforced errors, including surrendering a safety each and racking up 23 total penalties for 205 yards.
In the end, the Gators prevailed 15-8 in the season opener with the help of two touchdown passes by quarterback Garrett Castro, who completed 15 of 22 passes for 180 yards and threw an interception. Colin Rerecich hauled in a 33-yard touchdown reception for the Gators, while Brady Clayton had his own 22-yard touchdown catch.
Oilers quarterback Brady Gardner completed 17 of 33 passes for 137 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown caught by wide receiver Luke Adelman. Gardner also threw two interceptions.
In spite of the rusty play, Oilers coach Brett Brown was pleased with his team’s effort level. He also lamented the absence of returning All-Sunset League tight end/linebacker Christian Moore, who sat out the game with an injured ankle.
“I thought we played really hard and were physical,” Brown said. “Defensively, I don’t think they blocked us all night. Our three down guys are pretty special. We gave up a few coverage mistakes. Offensively, we didn’t stay on schedule. We had one of our missing links in our offensive in our big tight end. Hopefully, he’ll be back next week.”
The Oilers host Western on Aug. 30.
The Huntington Beach defense was a major bright spot, sacking Castro four times and forcing him to scramble on numerous occasions.
Brandon Bova, the Oilers’ second-team all-league defensive end, had three of those sacks and forced a fumble.
“We are kind of a young team,” Bova said. “I thought we came out here and battled off the charts. We competed the entire game, didn’t stop one time. We play with our hearts, and we don’t take off one play.”
The game started favorably for the Oilers after the Gators sailed a high snap into the end zone and then pushed the ball out of bounds for a safety. That made it 2-0 Oilers just 33 seconds into the game.
On the Gators’ second possession, Oilers safety Brian Reed read a Castro pass and intercepted it. Three plays later, with 6:20 remaining in the second quarter, Gardner found Adelman over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Oilers an 8-0 lead after a missed extra point.
However, with 10:51 remaining in the second quarter, the Oilers surrendered a safety off a high snap of their own that skittered out of bounds, making it an 8-2 game.
On their next possession, Castro found Rerecich for a 33-yard catch-and-run touchdown to make it 9-8 after the extra point.
After the Oilers couldn’t muster any offense, the Gators benefited from another high Huntington Beach snap that resulted in a 12-yard punt setting them up at the Huntington Beach 27.
Castro converted for the Gators rolling to his right and finding Clayton on a 22-yard touchdown pass for the game’s final score. The Gators failed to convert the extra point.
Gators coach Brian Castro was happy to see his team escape with the win in a sloppy game.
“First game, we haven’t had a scrimmage either,” he said. “It was pretty ugly at times. A lot of mistakes and a lot of penalties, but they responded, and we are happy for them.”
Green Valley 15, Huntington Beach 8
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Huntington Beach 8 – 0 – 0 – 0 — 8
Green Valley 0 – 15 – 0 – 0 — 15
HB – Safety, 11:27.
HB – Adelman 22 pass from Gardner, 6:20.
GV – Safety, 10:51.
GV – Rerecich 33 pass from Castro (Castro kick), 8:36.
GV – Clayton 22 pass from Castro (kick failed), 2:14.
HB – Gardner, 14-1.
GV – Hawthorne, 10-33.
HB – Gardner 17-33-2, 137, 1 TD.
GV – Castro 15-22-1, 180, 2 TDs.
HB – Adelman 1-20, 1 TD.
GV – Patillo, 5-67.
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