MONTEREY — “Somebody’s heart about to break.”
Those were the last words heard from the sidelines as Gavilan faced a 4-and-9 situation from the Monterey Peninsula College 27-yard-line. The Rams, who had led the entire game, were marching down field with under two minutes left after taking over at their own 33-yard-line.
But that’s as far as they would get.
The Rams' protection broke down allowing the Lobos’ defense to sack quarterback Nate Ellis, topping Gavilan by a heartbreaking 34-33 final in Monterey Saturday.
The loss was obviously not the way Gavilan (3-3 overall, 0-1 in conference) was not the way it wanted to kickoff conference play, but the team remains optimistic.
“It hurts,” Ellis said. “Any time you lose a one-point game that close at the end, it definitely hurts. …We’re going to definitely keep our heads up. A one-point loss is just kind of heartbreaking.”
Ellis was stellar once again for Gavilan, finishing 20 for 25 for 284 yards three touchdowns and an interception. Trevin Kelley was his main target for the night and the pair connected four times — including a 14-yard pass to keep the Rams late drive alive — for 36 yards and three touchdowns.
“I just wanted to put my team in a position to win — that’s what was going through my mind,” Ellis said. “You know what? We made a drive. We thought we were going to come down here and take the lead, but things happen in football and it just didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”
The Rams took a 21-7 lead into halftime, but the Lobos were quick to show they wouldn’t go down without a fight. MPC scored a field goal early in the third quarter to put them behind by just two scores. Gavilan quickly answered scoring on an Ellis to Kelley TD pass from five yards out. The Rams missed the extra point however, but still improved their lead to 27-10.
The Lobos would then go on a 12-play drive to the endzone to bring them back into the game at 27-17. They were able to score on their next position, a 10-play drive that ended in a 16-yard TD pass from quarterback Andrew Loudenback to Jordan Borne. Gavilan tried to answer, but Ellis’ pass was intercepted to set up MPC for a field goal that would tie the game at 27-27.
“It’s the tale of two halves,” Gavilan coach Spencer Gilford said. “The first half we played very well and the second half I don’t think we understood just how important it is to play even better in the second half than we did the first. We made some mistakes, we allowed them to keep the momentum going on their side and take the momentum from ourselves.”
Gavilan will look to rebound next week and gain some much needed ground in conference when they travel to San Jose City College at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“(Our mentality is) staying hungry, staying hungry and staying after it,” Ellis said. “We definitely still have a chance in this conference and we know it.”
Erin Redmond can be reached at (408) 842-1694. Follow her on Twitter @DispatchERed.