By Jeremy Balan
REDWOOD CITY — Galileo’s offense showed up in force for the second consecutive week, but it was a series of defensive breakdowns that led to the visiting Lions’ 45-36 loss to Sequoia of Redwood City on Friday night.
The Lions (1-1) allowed an explosive Sequoia (2-0) offense to gain 483 yards, including 12 plays that went for 20 yards or more. The Cherokees did not punt once in the game.
“It came down to three blown coverages, three TD passes that shouldn’t be,” said Galileo head coach Mark Huynh. “Everything came down to blown assignments. Our defense is a weakness right now.”
The three touchdown passes were all on throws from Sequoia junior quarterback James Beekley to wide receiver Will Langi. The touchdowns were from 45, 52 and 20 yards out.
The Cherokees established their rushing attack early and when Galileo keyed on the run, Sequoia went over the top to often wide open receivers.
“[The way] our system is set up, if you’re going to take something away, we’re going to go in the other direction,” said Sequoia head coach Rob Poulos. “They were selling out to stop the run, then we started punishing them with the pass, then they spread out and the run was back open again.”
The loss spoiled another standout performance from Galileo senior running back Quincy Nelson, who had a game-high 170 yards rushing on 29 carries. Nelson also opened the game’s scoring, on an 87-yard return for a touchdown on the opening kickoff. Sequoia didn’t kick to Nelson again for the rest of the game.
“What can I say? We’re glad we have him,” Huynh said. “He had some big runs and we expect yards from him every time. The defense has to stop him, so that frees up the other guys.”
Nelson racked up yardage, but was held out of the end zone after the opening score.
“He’s a quality back,” Poulos said. “He bangs and he keeps going, but he ran out of gas at the end of the game.”
Sequoia responded on its own opening drive on a touchdown run from Beekley, and with an extra point took the lead, one that they didn’t relinquish for the rest of the game.
Galileo remained close though, trailing only 24-20 at the half and 31-28 midway through the third quarter.
But the Cherokees rattled off 14 unanswered points and put the score out of reach for a option Galileo offense that is not adept at making large comebacks.
Considering the Lions lost starting safety and wingback Robbie Trumbo early in the game to an injury and faced a noticeably larger Sequoia team at nearly every position, Huynh was happy with the Lions’ effort.
“We fought to the end, so we’re proud of that,” Huynh said. “They matched their intensity and didn’t fold, so that was good to see. We were in the game the whole time. It was a good test for us.”
Beekley, somewhat quietly, finished with an impressive six total touchdowns (three passing and three rushing), but was overshadowed by Sequoia junior Josh Lauese.
Lauese ran for 74 yards at running back and delivered countless hard hits on Galileo players and appeared to be in on every tackle. Bruising Sequoia senior running back Isaias Flores also was a solid contributor, leading the Cherokees with 114 yards on 13 carries.
Even though the game ended in a loss, Huynh was more impressed with his team than last week’s win over Mills.
“It was like night and day,” Huynh said.
G: 11:47 — Quincy Nelson 87-yard kick return (Conversion failed)
S: 9:53 — James Beekley 14-yard run (Matt Jenkins kick)
S: 0:00 — Jenkins 32-yard field goal
S: 5:09 — Beekley 24-yard run (Jenkins kick)
G: 2:19 — Jonathan Lu 7-yard run (Conversion failed)
S: 1:33 — Will Langi 44-yard pass from Beekley (Jenkins kick)
G: 0:03 — Waynelle Buckner 26-yard pass from Lu (Nelson run on conversion)
S: 11:00 — Langi 52-yard pass from Beekley (Jenkins kick)
G: 7:52 — William Kay 30-yard pass from Lu (Buckner pass from Lu on conversion)
S: 6:11 — Beekley 4-yard run (Jenkins kick)
S: 2:37 — Langi 20-yard pass from Beekley (Jenkins kick)
G: 0:53 — Buckner 18-yard pass from Lu (Kay pass from Lu on conversion)