Story by Darren Cooper – record Sports Department
LODI – In a football game that featured a little bit of everything, Garfield running back Josue Matias was the headliner.
The senior ran for 162 yards and five touchdowns as the Boilermakers made new coach Pete Santacroce a winner in his debut with a 40-21 win over rival Lodi in front of a packed house Saturday afternoon.
“We knew we could do it,” Santacroce said. “We saw what they did on film. We knew we had the guys who could probably outmatch them and we proved it. Josue looked great. The line looked great. We did what we had to do.”
Lodi scored two touchdowns on trick plays in the second quarter, with Joey Velardi connecting with Aaron Marovick both times to make it 18-15 at halftime, but Garfield controlled the second half.
“They definitely had the momentum, but we got it together, my coaches did a great job making some adjustments and we showed what we could do,” Santacroce said.
Garfield has now won six in a row in the series.
What It Means
For Garfield, it’s a good start, especially coming against their heated rivals. Santacroce’s squad showed some versatility on offense and discipline.
Lodi struggled against a bigger defensive front to move the ball effectively on the ground, but showed good talent at the skill positions with Chris Diaz and Jason Nunez.
The Battle of Harrison Avenue never fails to disappoint. During the first half, there was a clock malfunction, or maybe not, as the clock continually ran after a Lodi touchdown, through the ensuing kickoff and then all the way until a Garfield score.
Lodi took over the ball with 8:57 left, scored in three plays. By the time Garfield received the kickoff, four minutes had gone off the clock. When Matias scored his third touchdown of the first half on a 29-yard run, there was 2:13 left. All time, the teams ran seven plays in a span of 6:44.
Diaz ran back the opening kickoff 58 yards down to the Garfield 20 for Lodi, but the Rams had to settle for a field goal that was short. … Garfield rotated two quarterbacks during the game: Jason Hawes and Matthew Fucile, Santacroce said that was the plan. … Aleks Trushi recovered a fumble for Lodi. … Garfield senior Mike Alfonso forced a fumble and recovered the fumble on the next play. … The final Garfield touchdown came when Maxwell Drakeford forced a Lodi fumble and it was picked up by Zachary Cook who cruised 16 yards for a score to make it 40-15.
They Said It
“We told the kids it’s a one game season, right now, all we are thinking about is Glen Rock. That’s it. No big picture yet.” – Santacroce.