Although King City did not make this year’s playoffs, the Mustangs played their best season since 2005, with an overall 7-2 record. Sebastian Garcia (#27) finished first in sacks with 11.5 in Monterey County. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

KING CITY — King City High Mustangs football team may not have made the playoffs this year, but their overall 7-2 season was one for the record books.

The last time the Mustangs finished a season with seven wins was back in 2005, when they ended with 7-3 and missed the playoffs.

“It was a successful season,” said Mustangs Head Coach Mac Villaneuva. “A 7-2 season is something to be proud of. It was a fun season. I’m proud of the boys who fought hard.” 

The King City football season started out rough, when they were forced to play two games in a week due to Covid-19 within the St. Francis program. But the Mustangs outscored both the St. Francis and Greenfield teams, 68-15.

According to Villanueva, the team had to replace their starting quarterback, leading rusher, reception leaders and many other positions coming into the season.

One of the players Villanueva was going to lean on during the season was Alexis DeDios, who had his breakout game against Gonzales with 162 yards receiving, which is the fourth highest in school history. DeDios finished the season not only leading the team in receiving yards, but also coming in second in the county with a total of 663 receiving yards. 

It might have taken DeDios two games to get his footing down with the offense, but right away he made his presence felt on defense. He collected four interceptions in the first three games and finished tied for first in the county with five interceptions.

“I wish we would have had him last year,” Villanueva said. “What a boost he was to the offense and defense all the way around.”

King City Mustang Alexis DeDios finished tied for first in the county with five interceptions. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

After reclaiming the coveted Megaphone over Gonzales, the Mustang defense went on dominating with a streak of shutouts. The defense didn’t give up a point during a three-game stretch.

During the entire season, the Mustangs had four shutouts. Villanueva said that was the most during his time as King City head coach.

One reason why the Mustang defense was deadly was because opposing quarterbacks didn’t have time to throw. Sebastian Garcia made it hard for quarterbacks as he finished the season leading the county in sacks with 11.5. During a three-game stretch, he recorded eight sacks.

“A lot of teams started giving him extra attention by sending another blocker to help block him,” Villanueva said. “If you look at the film, everyone is running away from him. Their plays are designed to go away from him.”

After the Scotts Valley game, the Mustangs needed a win to keep their season alive against San Lorenzo Valley. King City only had a touchdown lead at halftime in that game, but once the second half started Ivan Lizardi took over with two touchdowns and 143 yards rushing. 

All year long, Lizardi had been making plays on offense and defense. One of the games that stood out is when he returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Rancho San Juan. Lizardi finished the season eighth in rushing in the county, with 614 yards and 10 touchdowns. 

“He had a huge season for us,” Villanueva said. “He became our work horse in the back field. He has been the heart of the offense and heart of the defense all year.”

Ultimately, the Mustangs’ season didn’t finish the way they wanted, as their 27-25 loss to Pacific Grove on Nov. 4 left them out of playoff contention this year.

Looking to next season, Villanueva will have to replace the majority of the Mustangs’ top playmakers. But returning for another year will be starting quarterback Jjey Martinez, along with the majority of the offensive line.

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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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