King City Mustang defenders John Michael Soto (#23) and Elijah Calvijo (#3) come in to assist Tryston Hall after he makes a tackle on Tyler Pacheco of San Benito on April 9. (Michael Ramirez/Staff)

KING CITY — King City High Mustangs are 1-2 in the short season as they dropped a contest against the San Benito High Haybalers last Friday in Hollister.

The Haybalers (1-2) won their first game of the season after losing contests to St. Francis and Bellermine.

King City began the April 9 game by stopping the Haybalers within the 20-yard line and forcing them to attempt a field goal at the 9:56 mark of the first quarter. When San Benito missed the attempt, the Mustangs took over from the 20-yard line.

King City earned three first downs on passes from quarterback Jonah Mendez to JJ Martinez and two passes to Devin Morales. John Michael Soto also earned a first down at the Haybaler one-yard line. Sebastian Garcia then scored a touchdown from there. Camilo Martinez missed the point-after attempt on a bad snap and the Mustangs led 6-0 with 6:11 to play in the first quarter.

San Benito then put their offense on display by moving up the field after receiving the kickoff and starting from their own 41-yard line. Runs by Primo Reyes and catches by receivers Chris Soto and Justin Cortez had the Haybalers in the red zone. The drive ended on a touchdown by Chris Soto and a successful PAT by Daniel Sandoval that gave San Benito a 7-6 advantage.

The Haybalers added two more scores in the first quarter with a pass from Michael McShane to Tyler Pacheco for a 28-yard touchdown, and then two running plays by Reyes set him up for a one-yard touchdown. San Benito attempted a two-point pass attempt but the ball fell incomplete to end the first quarter with the host team leading 19-6.

San Benito held the Mustangs scoreless in the second quarter and padded their lead to 32-6 on a 52-yard pass play from McShane to Soto, and a 27-yard touchdown reception from McShane to Soto. King City’s Martinez attempted a field late in the second quarter, but the Balers blocked it at the line.

“We were pleased to open the game by stopping them on their first drive,” said King City head coach Mac Villanueva. “Our offense then moved the ball and we had some good catches by our receivers. The rest of the first half had some penalties and bad field position that kept us out of the end zone. They (San Benito) made us pay with their passing game and on the ground with that strong runner they have (Reyes).”

King City allowed one touchdown in the third quarter, but San Benito had to earn it as Trey Salcido put a stop on Reyes on a second-and-goal attempt. Pacheco had entered the game at quarterback for the Balers and called his own number for the touchdown that made the score 38-6 after the PAT.

King City quarterback Jonah Mendez (#9) is congratulated by teammate Jose Reyes (#55) after scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown for the Mustangs. (Michael Ramirez/Staff)

King City started the fourth quarter trailing by 32 points, but the Mustangs did not intend to leave the field without putting up good fight.

Behind the passing of Mendez and the catching prowess of Morales, the Mustangs were moving the ball at the start of the quarter. After reaching the 17-yard line, Mendez scored on a run to cut the lead to 38-12. King City attempted a two-point conversion, but the pass from Mendez to Ryland Hinderscheid fell incomplete.

After the kickoff, San Benito had first and 10 at their own 19-yard line. Hinderscheid then intercepted a pass to give King City a first down at the Baler 18-yard line. After a one-yard run by Garcia, followed by an incomplete pass, Mendez ran for yardage, but the play stopped on a personal foul for a facemask on San Benito.

From the nine-yard line, Mendez threw a touchdown pass to Morales. Mendez then cut the Baler advantage to 38-20 by running in a two-point conversion play with 8:19 left on the clock.

Starting quarterback McShane reentered the game for the Balers and completed the scoring with 6:22 in the contest on a 29-yard touchdown strike to Pacheco for the final 45-20 score. The win gave San Benito its first win of the year.

Mendez led King City with 14 rushes for 93 yards and scored one touchdown, and Soto added 39 yards on nine carries. Contributing with yards were Aiden Caulk with one carry for seven yards, Elijah Clavijo with one carry for five yards, and Garcia ran for two yards on three carries and a touchdown.

Mendez threw for 125 yards with a 15-of-30 passing performance with one passing touchdown, and Mitch Slama went one of three for two yards.

Morales led the Mustang receivers with nine receptions for 85 yards and one touchdown, and JJ Martinez added three receptions for 23 yards. Hinderscheid added two receptions for 13 yards, and Brooks Hearne had two receptions for six yards. Morales added five tackles and Hearne finished with four tackles along with Soto. Mendez and Mateo Pacheco had tackles for loss, and Manuel Deniz and Tryston Hall combined for three sacks.

King City receiver Brooks Hearne (#2) is tackled by San Benito’s Andrew Speech (#20) on April 9 in Hollister. (Michael Ramirez/Staff)

Mustangs to host Rancho Cotate

The King City High football team will play one last game this season on Friday, April 16, at 6 p.m. against the Rancho Cotate High Cougars of Rohnert Park.

The Cougars are 1-3 and are from the North Coast Section. Last week the Cougars lost to Santa Rosa’s Cardinal Newman High, which is 4-0 this shortened season.

King City (1-3) did not have a fourth game until Monday, when a game was set up to play the Cougars at War Memorial Stadium. The home game will also give the Mustangs and their families the opportunity to celebrate Senior Night.

“I’m excited that we get to play a home game,” Villanueva said. “These boys deserve to wear their home blues under the lights at War Memorial Stadium. We will definitely have a great Senior Night.”

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