Sobrato isn’t happy that it fell to 0-6 Saturday night against Leland, but the Bulldogs saw plenty of improvement that leaves them hopeful about the rest of the season and next.
“It’s still a loss and a loss feels like crap, but at the end of the day, we look at victory in a little different way than what’s on the scoreboard right now,” said coach Albert King.
Leland (5-1, 3-0) needed a touchdown in the last two minutes of the game to end Sobrato’s hopes, ultimately winning 24-6.
Sobrato held the Chargers to their fewest points in a win the entire season. The only time Leland scored less than 24 point was in a 35-14 loss to Mitty. Conversely, it was also the fewest points the Bulldogs have yielded this year.
“It’s been that thing that you and I have been talking about the entire year is when’s that time we’re going to start seeing the maturity? That hard work, the dedication that these kids have been putting in, when are we going to start seeing some of that?” King said. “I think tonight we took our first, I’m not going to say massive step, but we took a step.”
The Bulldogs sustained drives for most of the night, just had trouble finding the endzone. Sobrato had 16 first downs, including converting three fourth downs.
“Nick Sicolo had a real good game tonight. We’ve been waiting to see some separation,” King said. “Again, when you’re dealing with sophomores and juniors and down to four seniors or three seniors, this is a great step for us.”
For all the first downs, the Bulldogs were still an inefficient five for 15 on third down.
Defensively, however, Sobrato didn’t miss a beat.
“Instead of starting off in the second quarter, we started off in the first and really hitting the ball,” said running back Darius Wheeler. “The line did great. Our line is really growing up and maturing during the game.”
Sobrato held the game at 3-0 for most of the first half, giving up a field goal midway through the opening quarter. Leland got its first touchdown with 30 seconds remaining in the half.
The touchdown came on a screen pass from quarterback Matt McLaughlin to full back Ryota Watanabe. The screen proved to be a deadly weapon against the Bulldogs as it opened the passing game for the Chargers.
It was also a screen that sprung Liam Saito for the first of his two touchdowns.
Saito was held to fewer than 100 yards up until the last two minutes of the game when he broke a 48-yard touchdown to finish with 104 yards on the night.
That score came in the third quarter to make it a 17-6 game.
Sobrato had just capped off a 68-yard drive with a 3-yard score from Wheeler to cut the Charger lead to 10-6.
The Bulldogs got a little help in the drive, converting two fourth downs — one came off a roughing the passer penalty.
Sobrato marched down inside the five and on third down, gave the ball to Wheeler who blasted through the middle for the score.
His touchdown had an added special element for him.
“It’s my mom’s birthday today (Friday) so I want to wish her a happy birthday,” Wheeler said.
Sobrato will now hit the road to face Santa Teresa on Oct. 26. King said the game plan is going to be similar to what it was the previous week: A lot of weight training.
“We’re not throwing away the season at all, but we’ve all committed to each other as a group that preparation for next year and how we finish this year starts now,” King said. “They’re all committed. They all said we have weight training on Monday.”
Kickoff for next week is 1:45 p.m. Oct. 26 at Santa Teresa.