One of the principle objectives that has guided the coaching career of Valley Center High’s Rob Gilster is to make sure that his teams showed tangible improvement on a weekly basis which then enabled them to be reaching a crescendo as the regular season ended and the playoffs beckoned.
Well, after its convincing Friday night 43-14 home victory over rival to the south Escondido (4-5), VC appears to be following that blueprint to the letter. Winners of six straight games (the last two by a combined total of 91-14), the Jaguars are definitely surging at just the right time.
The win over the Cougars brought the Jags overall record to an impressive 8-1which includes perfect marks both at home (5-0) and in the Valley League (4-0).
The Jags haven’t tasted defeat since back on September 8 when they let a game against El Capitan slip through their fingers with costly turnovers. In truth, VC probably should be undefeated as it heads into its regular-season finale this coming Friday night when it travels to Spring Valley to do battle with 5-4 Monte Vista.
And indicator of just how strongly the Jags have been coming on is reflected by the fact that VC has tallied a minimum of 33 points over its last four outings and has outscored the opposition by a count of 292 to 103 throughout the course of the season.
Getting back to what transpired up on the “Hill,” though Escondido did hang tough through the game’s first 12 minutes and took a 7-6 lead thanks in large part to Jake Frankfather’s 3-yard touchdown run, from that point on it was virtually all the Jags. Gilster’s crew put up a combined 30 points in the second and third quarters to establish its superiority and seal the deal. A telltale sign that the Jags were in control and dominating in possession time was manifested by the stunning number of offensive plays (84) that VC was destined to run off.
It was a particularly big night for running back Mateo Sinohui, who continued to build on his ever-growing resume. The 175-pound senior rushed for 178 yards and found paydirt four times, thrice on the ground and once more via a touchdown reception.
Ronnie McCowan was another Jag who found success by land, parlaying his nine carries into 95 yards and a score.
Meanwhile, VC’s accomplished signal-caller Rikki Mazzetti made the most out of his 10 completions, throwing for 235 yards and three touchdowns. In addition to Sinohui’s grab, Mazzetti also connected with Ben Wierenga and Keith Vasquez on scoring strikes.
With a victory on Friday night against the MV Monarchs, the Jags will achieve something truly noteworthy by posting a second consecutive nine-win, one-loss season. The significance of that achievement is worth dwelling on because it happens with such infrequency. There’s absolutely no denying that the Jag football program has been on one mighty roll since August of 2016.
The game at Monte Vista also carries with it additional importance because VC needs a win there to maintain its current third-place position in the Division 2 standings. Should the Jags top the Monarchs, they figure to garner a high seed for the playoffs and be given a first-round bye which can prove to be a real advantage moving forward.
It has always been Gilster’s aim to have his teams reaching a crescendo and playing their very best football as the regular season reaches the wire and the postseason approaches. It’s quite clear that his current squad is certainly living up to that lofty expectation.
What will be interesting to see is exactly how far that will take them.