#7 Zander Leyva side-stepped away from his opponent in order to make an opening to gain yardage.

Friday night in Gustine saw hundreds of football fans and prideful community members pack into the school’s football stadium to watch the hometown Reds open Southern League play against the Grizzlies of Mariposa County. Heading into the matchup, the Reds were coming off two straight wins and were determined to grab another victory on their highly-anticipated homecoming night.


As it has been well documented through the first four weeks of the 2022 football season, Gustine has been on a roll as their trio of running backs have carried the bulk of the load. Nevertheless, the Reds found success early though the air as quarterback Alejandro Lugo found receiver Julian Nessi for a touchdown. A missed extra point kept it a 6-0 game.


Facing a league rival in the Grizzlies, it was expected that they would not be discouraged by the early deficit. On the very next possession, MC answered right back with a passing touchdown of their own, grabbing a 7-6 lead after the made extra point kick. The Reds had an opportunity to retake the lead on the next MC possession, but a potential pick-6 was dropped. After that, the Grizzlies would strike for a field goal later in the first half to jump out in front 10-6 heading into halftime.


What ensued in the second half was a full-on defensive struggle between the two teams. For the next 24 minutes of playing time, not an additional point was scored, and the Grizzlies walked away with the 10-6 win. In the process, the Reds grabbed two turnovers that led to excellent field position, but the home team would fail to capitalize.


“We were just excited, it was my first game, so everyone was pumped during my first touch down, but ultimately we didn’t and that’s the main goal,” said #80 Julian Nessi


Gustine head coach Collin Lane spoke about the tough loss while praising both defenses for their valiant efforts.


“Mariposa did exactly what we thought they would, but we couldn’t capitalize,” he said. “We really didn’t have a good week of practice and I thought we lost a lot of that nastiness we were playing with during the bye week. The defense gave us a chance, but we didn’t have good blocks down the field and we just missed the opportunities.”


The Reds will look to bounce back this Friday against the Coyotes of Denair High School, who will also be coming off of a tough loss against the Ripon Christian Knights