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King City
March 3, 2024

Football | King City Mustangs fall to Bruins in season opener

KING CITY — Greenfield Bruins came out on top during their first game of the 2023-24 high school football season last Friday at home against the King City Mustangs.

Both teams entered this season looking to replace some essential parts they lost a year ago.

After losing their starting quarterback in the South County Jamboree on Aug. 18, the Bruins looked to backup QB Naythen Hernandez, who played the position last year.

In the first half, Greenfield couldn’t move the ball at all, and the King City defense held the Bruins to 0 points. It would be the Mustangs who scored first on a running play by Isaac Benavides that gave them an early 6-point lead going into halftime.

But, after a few tweaks from the coaching staff, the Greenfield offense made a stunning comeback, generating 21 unanswered points.

“We were adjusting to losing our quarterback that we had all summer,” said Greenfield head coach Adam Barsenas. “This was the first week of (Hernandez) getting those reps as starting quarterback. All we told him is just do your thing and be yourself.”

Leading the offensive attack in the second half, Hernandez went off for three touchdowns.

One of those touchdowns was when Hernandez was getting tackled, but the defensive tackle for King City didn’t bring him down. He was able to spin out of it and find a wide receiver in the end zone.

“After breaking that tackle, my goal was just to find an open receiver and give them a shot because I know they trust me just how I trust them,” Hernandez said. “That’s when I saw Gio (Hernandez) running across the field with his hand up and I knew it was time to sling it. It happened so fast. After watching the video, I’m thinking like, ‘How did I do that?’”

One of the major factors in this game was the Greenfield defense. Once again, they were able to get opportune turnovers at the right time and keep the King City offense out of the end zone when they were backed up multiple times on their side of the field.

Greenfield’s defense, first for the third year in a row, is showing that they will have one of the best defenses this season in the Pacific Coast Athletic League. The Bruins were able to come away with three turnovers in Friday’s game.

It wouldn’t be a rivalry between King City and Greenfield without a little drama at the end.

When thinking the Bruins have the game won, King City was able to get an 80-yard touchdown pass and pull the score closer with about two minutes left. Mustangs quarterback Junior Manriquez found slot receiver Adrian Garcia for his first touchdown of the game.

After a failed 2-point conversion, the Mustangs suffered their first loss of the season against the Bruins, falling short by a score of 21-12.

With their first win, the Greenfield Bruins will now be traveling to play another rival, the Soledad Aztecs, on Thursday in Soledad. Meanwhile, the King City Mustangs are scheduled to play at home against the Palma Chieftains on the same day.

Jason Gallardo
Jason Gallardo
Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.

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