By Josh Levine
Leading 50-6 at the half, visiting El Cerrito High School cruised to a dominating win over Lincoln High School 62-20 on Saturday, ending a trying non-league schedule for the Mustangs.
The Gauchos (1-3) were led by quarterback Byron Thomas who threw for 362 yards in the first half on 10-of-13 passing. Thomas threw for five touchdowns and had a rushing touchdown as well.
The Mustangs (0-4) managed to stop most of the El Cerrito running game but could not stop Thomas and his multiple receivers.
“When we come out and face a team like this with the weapons they have, it’s going to happen like it did today,” said Lincoln head coach Phil Ferrigno. “We did well against the running game, but our pass defense just couldn’t do it. [Thomas] was like Michael Vick out there.”
Thomas, who said that the Gauchos are better than their record, also added that this game sends a message El Cerrito’s league.
“We were coming off of three straight losses and I wanted to get my receivers the ball,” said Thomas. “Everyone here knows I like throwing the deep ball. We were a little out of rhythm those first three games, especially with the new receiving crew we have. Our offensive line had a wonderful game today; I didn’t get touched.”
It wasn’t all bad for the Mustangs, who got an early first quarter spark from senior Lazare Gubeladaze, who took a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. After that early first-quarter score, the Gauchos used squib kicks the rest of the game to keep the Mustang players from breaking open.
Gubeladaze added touchdown runs of 30 and 35 yards in the in the second half and had a team-high 112 yards on 14 carries.
With the score well out of reach at the half, the Gauchos pulled most of their starters and exclusively ran the ball in the second half.
“Absolutely it was all about respect,” said El Cerrito head coach Kenny Kahn. “I have a lot of respect for this program and I love this rivalry and you don’t run up the score against a team you like.”
The Mustangs start Academic Athletic Association play next week in the annual Bell Game against Washington High School on Friday.
EC: 11:10 — Jalen Harvey 60-yard pass from Byron Thomas (Aiden Brorson kick missed)
EC: 5:37 — Harvey 10-yard pass from Thomas (Conversion failed)
L: 5:23 — Lazare Gubeladaze 95-yard kick return (Juan Velasquez kick missed)
EC: 5:15 — RoVonte Burgin 60-yard pass from Thomas (Conversion good)
EC: 10:29 — Kris Jackson 64-yard pass from Thomas (Conversion good)
EC: 3:39 — Jorden Webster 6-yard run (Conversion good)
EC: 3:06 — Thomas 2-yard run (Kevin Smith kick)
EC: 2:26 — Harvey 49-yard pass from Thomas (Smith kick)
EC: 4:31 — James Savage 3-yard run (Smith kick missed)
L: 1:37 — Gubeladaze 35-yard run (Conversion failed)
EC: 9:04 — Harvey 3-yard run (Smith kick missed)
L: 5:26 — Gubeladaze 30-yard run (Conversion good)