Marco Jones makes big plays on offense, defense and Luke Baker throws four TD passes as SRV improves to 6-0
CONCORD — Marco Jones had that look all week, like he was ready to make a big impact on game day.
Friday night, the two-way standout from San Ramon Valley did it all. When the game was close in the second quarter, he had a huge tackle for loss on a key third-down play. He caught two touchdown passes, one of which was caught between two defenders. In the second half, he had a strip sack.
“He came to play tonight, for sure,” said SRV coach Aaron Becker. “He’s incredible. From Monday through the entire week of practice, I knew his mindset was correct.”
With quarterback Luke Baker on target again, the Wolves opened up the score in the second half and went on to defeat Clayton Valley Charter 35-7 in both teams’ East Bay Athletic League Mountain Division opener.
San Ramon Valley’s record now stands at 6-0. Clayton Valley is now 2-4.
Baker completed 20 of 24 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns as SRV cleared the final hurdle before facing De La Salle at home next week.
Aside from miscues that stalled a couple of long drives, Clayton Valley’s backbreaker came on the first snap of the second half.
Baker threw a pass to Owen Scott near the left sideline with SRV leading 14-0, and the junior receiver let his speed do the rest.
Scott crossed the goal line eighty yards later to increase the lead to three touchdowns.
“That first play of the second half was kind of a killer,” said Clayton Valley coach Nick Tisa.
Clayton Valley was able to move the ball effectively at times. It ate up half of the first quarter as it marched across midfield to start the game. However, on second-and-seven at the SRV 33, a high snap resulted in a 16-yard loss.
Following a punt, SRV began its first series on its own 9 but was forced to return five yards due to a false start.
Baker then went to work, despite his best efforts to remain patient on the sidelines.
“They had a long first drive and as an offense, you never really want that,” Baker told ESPN. “And then we get pinned back inside our own 10 and start with a false start penalty and end up with third-and-15.” “I think converting on that first third-and-15 was huge for us.”
Baker advanced the ball 23 yards over the middle to Zack Dodson. The quarterback then connected with Dylan Deitsch for 42 yards to the 9.
Baker found Dodson in the back of the end zone on third-and-ten for a 7-0 lead. The 91 yards were covered in ten plays by SRV.
In the second quarter, Clayton Valley went on another lengthy drive, this time from its own 5 to the SRV 18. Jones, however, read the play from his linebacker position and tackled the Clayton Valley runner for a six-yard loss on third-and-2.
With 3:07 left before halftime, an incomplete pass on fourth down ended the drive, giving Baker enough time to lead SRV to another touchdown.
Following a 22-yard completion to Hudson Brinton that moved the Wolves to the 13, Baker found Jones over the middle on the next snap for a touchdown that increased the Wolves’ lead to 14-0 with 25 seconds left in the half.
“Start of league play, we’ve got to prove a statement this year,” Jones was quoted as saying. “We were defeated by these guys last year.” We have a lot of big games left in the season. We must carry out our plans. That’s what I feel like we did today. You must have a good Monday in order to have a good Friday.”
The game was played with a running clock after Sammy Avalos’ 1-yard run with 8:29 left made it 35-0.
Clayton Valley’s lone touchdown came from Nathan Underwood’s short TD run. When he lost control of the ball, he appeared to be down at the 2, but the officials counted the score.
Tisa stated that his young team’s earlier mistakes were too much for them to overcome.
“We’re doing some good things,” he explained. “We had an eight-minute drive offensively. We need to score points. That’s been our Achilles’ heel for the past two weeks.”
The game was SRV’s first since senior running back John Ben Pau Mendoza suffered a season-ending knee injury against Liberty two weeks ago. He stated that he will undergo surgery on Wednesday.
“That was a real blow,” Becker said.
Pau Mendoza, on the other hand, appeared to be in good spirits on the sidelines. He stated that he is now assisting in the coaching of the other backs.
SRV’s next opponent is De La Salle.