Special teams turnovers give San Bernardino 46-40 victory

Gabriel Aparicio throws for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns, but it is not enough in wild week 4 loss


Claudia Avalos

Gabriel Aparicio shined in the passing game against San Bernardino, throwing for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Colton, CA—It is always the little things that get you. All week, Colton’s coaches prepared their special teams for the fact that the kickerless San Bernardino High would rely on onside kicks after every score. Preparation is not game play, however, and the Yellowjackets coughed up 3 onside kicks that the Cardinals converted into touchdowns en route to a 46-40 victory.

Despite the loss, the Yellowjackets found their passing game for the first time this season. QB Gabriel Aparicio threw for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns. Damien Sanchez, who has been tearing it up in the backfield, found success this time in the receiving game, racking up two touchdowns and 117 yards.

Additionally, this week the offense added a new weapon, Junior Alex Juarez. A transfer from Cajon, Juarez sat the first four weeks of the season per CIF rules. Finally eligible for this week, he showed what he can do on the field very quickly in the passing game, grabbing 1 touchdown and picking up 41 yards receiving on 7 targets..

“He’s a stud,” said head coach Ray Rodriguez. “He’s a kid that is gonna get a lot of playing time.”

Sparked by an 18-0 first quarter, the Cardinals had Colton chasing all night. The game opened with a 90-yard touchdown run by senior George Jones. The Cardinals then recovered their first onside kick of the game and scored on an 8 yard touchdown run by senior back Kyron Crain (4 touchdowns for the game).

The Yellowjackets started fighting back in the second quarter. The defense forced a loss of yards on all three Cardinals possessions.

The Yellowjackets also opened up the passing game. On the second series of the quarter, QB Gabriel Aparicio hit three different receivers, James Gonzalez, Cesar Loera, and Damien Sanchez before Gonzalez scored his first touchdown of the game on a 5 yard run.

Right out of halftime, Gonzalez picked up where he left off, grabbing a 14 yard pass down at the Cardinals 3 yard line before pushing through the defense for his second touchdown of the game. Things were suddenly looking up for Colton as a 2-point conversion by Sanchez put the Yellowjackets within 2 points at 18-16.

Then the Cardinals began running their triple-option offense in earnest, with their QB Xavier Alvarez continually evading the Yellowjacket linebackers with last second pitches to his running backs. This led to 3 more Cardinal touchdowns, as they answered every punch the Yellowjackets threw.

As the final score lit up the scoreboard, it was impossible not to think about the turnovers on special teams. “Some guys were overzealous and tried to get it when it wasn’t their spot to get it,” coach Rodriguez shared. “[A]nd then there are the guys just not having a good football IQ and understanding that they need to get on [the ball] or fall on it and just catching the ball trying to do too much.”

Chalk it up to another learning experience for the 1-3 Yellowjackets. Because of the situation involving Big Bear High, next week’s game will be against the Bears up in Big Bear. Game time is 7 p.m.