Gustine took an early lead in its frosh-soph football opener Friday at Linden but couldn’t close out the Lions.
The host Lions scored two second half touchdowns to send the West Siders home on the short side of a 12-6 final score.
Gustine had broken the ice in the second quarter on an 8-yard run by Giovanni Quezada to take a 6-0 lead into intermission.
But the Lions drew even with a third-quarter touchdown, and capitalized on a Gustine miscue to pull ahead midway through the fourth.
A Gustine punt attempt went awry, allowing Linden to take over in the red zone. The hosts capitalized on a 19-yard scoring strike to put up what proved to be the winning points.
The Reds attempted to answer on their following drive, quickly moving the chains on a 12-yard run by Cristopher Meneses and moving into Linden territory on a 34 yard completion from Quezada to Gio Torres.
That put the Reds at the Linden 35 with a fresh set of downs - but the Lions turned back the threat with an interception that all but sealed the win.
Gustine’s defense was able to force a late punt, but the Reds had only 40 seconds in which to try to go 80 yards after getting the ball back.
A 22-yard reception by Torres moved the Reds to near midfield, but time expired at that point.
Gustine will host Hilmar Friday as the pre-league portion of the season continues.