NAPA — It’s hard to win football games when you can’t get positive rushing yards, let alone stop your opponent’s running game.
The Rodriguez High football team finished with 18 carries for minus 20 yards and gave up 249 yards on the ground in a 42-0 Monticello Empire League loss to Vintage at Memorial Stadium, Friday night.
The Mustangs (1-6, 0-2 MEL) got some offense through the air, with quarterback Miles Saunders completing just 9 of 29 passes for 156 yards.
“Miles Saunders did his best under the circumstances,” coach Berwyn Hutcherson said. “We had some issues on the line. At times they were holding them down and at other times it seemed like they got overwhelmed. . . . Maybe the game was a little too fast for them to be able to adjust.”
The Crushers (3-4, 1-1 MEL) opened the scoring on their second drive and upped the score to 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Vintage then added two more TDs in the second to take a 28-0 halftime lead, then scored two more in the fourth to put the game away.
“We’re just trying to figure this thing out,” Hutcherson said. “We have too much talent to be getting shut out in this manner. Not to put any points on the board is very disappointing.
“Our guys, week in and week out, they’re fighting their hearts out. I feel like I’m letting them down. I’ve got to look at some film and see what the heck is going on.”
Rodriguez showed some signs of life in the opening quarter, driving twice to Vintage’s 10-yard line.
One field goal attempt sailed wide right, while the next trip into the Red Zone ended on a fake field goal attempt on fourth-and-goal.
The Mustangs never got past the Crushers’ 38-yard line again.
Johnny Coughman led in reception yards for Rodriguez, hauling in three of Saunders passes for 68 yards, including a 39-yarder on the first play of the game. The Mustangs’ Elijah Johnson caught two passes for 48 yards.
Vintage’s Victor Montanez finished with 112 yards on 13 carries, while teammate Joe Cavagnaro wound up with 95 yards on 10 carries.
Hutcherson said there’s an “easy” fix for breaking out of this slump.
“We need to get a win, straight up,” the coach said. “We need an upset. We’ve got a very good (Wood) team next week. We need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what’s not gelling and what’s the problem and make the adjustments on offense.
“I hate to see them not scoring. They work so hard. Not getting into the end zone is a reflection on me. I’ve got to check myself and see what is going on. I’ve got to look deep inside myself and so do (the players).”
It all starts next week with Wood at Coach Ed Hopkins Memorial Stadium.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.