With only a few weeks left in the season, the teams are trying to leave their mark.
Goodbye weeks have passed, injured players have recovered and there are few chances for players to make a difference.
All five football teams in the Salinas area are playing in four games this week, with two of the teams competing against each other.
Chiefs of Palma
Football week begins with the Palma Chieftains (4-2) welcoming the Christopher Cougars (4-3) at the Rabobank Stadium in Salinas.
This was to be an exciting game, with two explosive offenses.
The teams ‘records are close, with Christopher just one more loss thanks to his game against Salinas’ Cowboys, which Palma has yet to play.
Quarterbacks from each team are high in the ratings. Christopher’s Spencer Gorgulho has 1,320 yards to his name, while Lukas Rossi from Palma has 1,199 yards.
“Christopher has a brave QB and excellent, talented players,” said Palma coach Jeff Carnazzo. “This game will boil down to the offensive and defensive lines.”
The only difference could be that Palma tends to pull Rossi once they get ahead and deploy the up and coming Matthew Fuqua.
Keep your eyes peeled for some of the standout Palmas, Luke Alvarez, Colton Amaral and Logan Saldate. These guys have been on fire lately along with the rest of the team that won their last game.
When it comes to playing three days of training, Carnazzo says it’s not that bad.
“I have a feeling it could be a good thing this late in the season,” he said. “We need a little change in the routine.”
Friday brings more football, starting with Alisal’s Trojans (1-4) Senior Night at Seaside, through to the Spartans (1-7). While these two teams are lower in the rankings, this could be an excellent competition.
Both outfits have great athletes as individual efforts show throughout the year, and it could be a question of who is more sticking together.
“We practice hard and do it repetition after repetition,” said Alisal coach Cesar Chaidez. “We try to get better with every snapshot.”
If there was one thing with this year’s Trojan team, it would be their grit. They were all down this year and never stopped. You have accompanied Chaidez through some tough games and came back to practice tough on Monday.
“The key was to anchor ourselves in our beliefs and program fundamentals,” said Chaidez.
Keep an eye out for Diego Chaidez, Shane Salazar, and David Mandujano throwing Alisal the toughest. These guys need to get creative to beat Seaside to have fun playing soccer.
Everett Alvarez vs. Salinas High School
Two local teams will compete in The Pit at Salinas High School. Everett Alvarez’s (2-4) Eagles roam town to take on the undefeated Salinas High School Cowboys (5-0).
On paper, this seems like a one-sided affair. The Eagles are the underdogs.
An unbeaten streak can end at any time, and Salina’s coach Steve Zenk knows that better than anyone. He’s kept his team focused and on task on the bye last week, and they’re ready for the Eagles this week.
“We had a great week that got better,” said Zenk. “Every coach trains and every child gets better.”
This is what you like to hear from an undefeated team that is still working on their craft and preparing for the playoff potential it has.
On the other side of the coin, Everett Alvarez coach Anthony Mckay is preparing his squad for one of the tougher fights they’ll have this season.
“The greatest thing for us is to prepare the children mentally for what is coming. Salinas is a great team, ”said Mckay. “We just have to be ready to live up to its intensity.”
This will be a team effort on both sides of the ball, but there will certainly be outstanding achievements. Look for James Covarrubias, Luis Vasquez, Jaden Brown, and Devon Gonzalez on Everett Alvarez’s page to make a difference.
The usual suspects are there for Salinas, like Nyziah Hunter, Aidan Flynn, and Adam Shaffer, but keep an eye out for others like Isiah Duarte, Emmerson Cortez, and Damian Morales, too.
North Salinas Vikings
The last game of the week takes place on Saturday, with the North Salinas Vikings (5-1) moving north to Soquel to face the undefeated Knights (5-0).
North Salinas have mastered everything the league game has thrown at them aside from a loss to first place, the unbeaten Santa Cruz.
Despite the fact that they are playing against a team that has not yet lost, this will be an uphill battle for both sides. Soquel has yet to play Santa Cruz so there is no yardstick there, but otherwise both teams have very similar records.
“We are one step closer to the playoffs,” said Vikings coach Ben Ceralde. “We have a big game ahead of us against a great team.”
The Vikings defeated Monterey on their school field on Monday, leaving them with a shorter week. But playing on Saturday gives them an extra day of rest and practice to prepare.
Look for Jesus Organista to keep the team running along with Adan Perez, Alex Espinoza, and a burning Charles Sanders. The Vikings have been under the radar for most of the season but keep an eye on them towards the end as we near the playoffs.
It could get interesting.
For soccer action this week, follow @marvingreeniv on Twitter and keep an eye out for live updates here.