KING CITY — King City Mustangs kept their playoff hopes alive as they pulled away in the second half against San Lorenzo Valley Cougars, winning 34-7.

This is the fifth time the Mustangs’ defense held an opponent under seven points.

If King City wanted any chance of making the playoffs they had to win their last two remaining games, starting with San Lorenzo Valley last Saturday.

The Cougars, who are out of the playoff race, looked to play spoiler as they took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter. This is only the second time all season that the Mustangs trailed in a game.

For those who have watched the Mustangs all season, scoring points in the first quarter has been a problem. And that problem continued into this game as they wouldn’t score a point in the first quarter.

The Mustangs had only scored twice in the first quarter all season — once by the offense and the other being on special teams.

In the second quarter, King City finally got on the scoreboard when quarterback Jjey Martinez found wide receiver Sam Umbarger for his first touchdown of the season, tying the game at 7-7 going into half time. Martinez threw for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

Coming out of the halftime, the Mustangs needed to put some more points on the board, so they went to one of their best playmakers, wide receiver Alex DeDios. Martinez found DeDios for his sixth scoring reception of the season, making the score 14-7 to end third quarter.

DeDios is currently No. 2 in receiving yards and tied for first in catches in Monterey County.

But the playmaker of the day goes to Mustangs running back and linebacker Ivan Lizardi, who scored twice in the fourth quarter to increase King City’s lead to 27-7.

Lizardi finished with 17 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, he had eight tackles that led the team and forced a fumble.

King City backup quarterback Ivan Salcido finished the scoring for the Mustangs when he ran for a 33-yard touchdown, his first of the season. The Mustangs scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to help them beat San Lorenzo Valley, 34-7.

The explanation on why the Mustangs’ offense took off was simple for Head Coach Mac Villanueva.

“We didn’t turn the ball over and we executed on offense,” Villanueva said.

With Scotts Valley beating Pacific Grove, 36-6, the hopes of becoming co-champs are out the door for the Mustangs. Now, King City will travel to Pacific Grove on Thursday, with the winner going to the playoffs.

With a win, the Mustangs would move one more step closer to returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

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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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