For the first time in the 21st century, the King City Mustangs have started their season 3-0 and are in great position entering league play to end their 14-year playoff drought. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

KING CITY — When the King City Mustangs beat the Gonzales Spartans, they broke a two-game losing streak that improved their record to 3-0; the one streak remaining to break is the consecutive years without going to the playoffs.

For the first time in the 21st century, the Mustangs have started their season 3-0 and are in great position entering league play to end their 14-year playoff drought.

The Mustangs will welcome the Rancho San Juan Trailblazers, a school playing its first year of varsity football.

Don’t let the Trailblazers 1-3 record fool you. In their first league game, they beat Pacific Grove, who many picked to contend for Pacific Coast Cypress Division.

Thursday, Sept. 30
Rancho San Juan Trailblazers (1-3) vs. King City Mustangs (3-0)
League Game
7 p.m. at King City High

What We Know: If the Trailblazers want to pull another upset, they will have to take advantage of the Mustangs’ slow start. The Mustangs offense has yet to score any type of points in the first quarter. But King City has a defense, led by defensive coordinator Matt Mendez, that has not given up a point in six straight quarters at one time during the season.

Trailblazers Strengths: The Trailblazers will bring a defense with six interceptions already in four games. They have an opportunistic defense that works alongside their offense, which will lean on its running game. The Trailblazers have scored six touchdowns on the ground and only one throwing.

Players to Watch: Steve Araujo not only leads his team in interceptions with three, but also is their second-leading rusher with 129 yards. He also leads his team in touchdowns.

Questions: If the Mustangs offense scores their average of 34 points, can the Trailblazers offense keep up with them? The most points they scored in a game has been 20.

King City Strengths: King City has put up 34 points in each of their three games. But the most impressive part is the development of the offensive line that had to replace four starts from last spring’s team.

Players to Watch: The Mustangs offense that has scored 34 points in each of their games is led by quarterback Jjey “The Humble One” Martinez. The Mustangs have a well-balanced attack through the air and on the ground. King City running backs Ivan Lizardi and Elijah Clavijo each have three touchdowns and over 150 yards rushing on the ground. Wide receiver Brooks Hearne, who through the first two games was the go-to receiver, now will probably have more opportunity with the emergence of Alexis DeDios, who might be the best overall player in South Monterey County.

Questions: The Mustangs offense has not been good out of the gates. They have yet to score any points in the first quarter. If the Trailblazers can score fast and have success with the running game to control the clock, that can mean trouble for the Mustangs.

Prediction (3-3 record): Upsets happen all the time in sports, and teams like Rancho San Juan are an example of it when they beat Pacific Grove last week. But King City has something special going, and I’m going to ride the hot hand by picking them to win, 36-6.

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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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