Redwood rewrites history by beating San Marin for first time in 10 years, chases first MCAL pennant since 2000

October 6, 2019

With a ten-year losing streak to San Marin’s varsity football team and no varsity Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) pennant since 2000, the Giants came out with one goal in mind: to win. Tensions were high and emotions were flowing as Redwood’s varsity football team took on San Marin at Redwood on Saturday, Oct. 5. 

On their first offensive drive, San Marin came out strong. The Mustangs slowly inched their way down the field, first down after first down, ultimately resulting in a touchdown putting them up 7-0. 

To begin the game, senior kicker Billy Gramajo kicks off to San Marin.

However, after the San Marin touchdown, senior starting quarterback Matt Smalbach came out firing, connecting with senior Alex Hagen for a 40-yard catch and placing the Giants in the red zone. On the following play, senior Joe Calzaretta powered the ball into the endzone, tying the game 7-7 before the end of the first quarter. 

Beginning the second quarter, Smalbach continued Redwood’s momentum and on the first play of the second quarter, found junior Zach Ginsburg near the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown. After an extra point by senior kicker Billy Gramajo, Redwood secured the lead, placing them up 14-7. 

Waiting patiently on the sideline, senior star running back Luke McKernan prepares to take the field.

Throughout the second quarter, Redwood and San Marin’s offenses began to slow down as each team had two offensive turnovers, none of which resulted in any points on the board. 

According to senior Luke McKernan, the slow start was due to a lack of focus at the beginning of the game which they eventually changed. 

“We just weren’t as focused as we were at the end of the game. Eventually, we came together and rallied together, but it took a while to get some real offense going,” McKernan said. 

Yet right before the end of the half, San Marin was able to continuously move the sticks and finally punch in a touchdown to tie the game back up, 14-14, going into halftime. 

Coming out of the half, Redwood flies through the banner and onto the field.

Coming out of the huddle, Redwood needed to capitalize on offensive opportunities, and they did just that. On the kickoff to begin the third quarter, Ginsburg returned the ball 90 yards, juking defenders on his way to his second touchdown of the game and regaining the Giants’ lead.

Rather than let the Mustangs control the offense like they did in the first half, Redwood’s defense locked down San Marin’s offensive plays. Led by senior Jack Loebbaka, who forced a fumble and assisted on an interception, and senior Henry Minturn, who amassed 10 tackles and sacks, Redwood’s defense allowed zero points to the Mustangs during the second half. 

According to Loebbaka, their defensive success was a direct result of their preparation the week prior. 

“We just did what we were working on during practice: hitting hard, filling the gaps and knowing their offense,” Loebbaka said. 

Seeing an opportunity to compromise the play, senior Jack Loebbaka punches the ball out to prevent a 20 yard pass.

As the game progressed with Redwood’s defense providing offensive opportunities, the Giants pulled away with their lead. Smalbach completed a string of passes to senior wideouts Maximo Tribuzio and Hagen. McKernan and Calzaretta trudged on the ground, eventually leading to a rushing touchdown by McKernan that extended the Giants’ lead to 28-14 before the end of the game. 

As the Giants move into the future, head coach Allen Talley hopes to continue the track forged by the Giants thus far. 

“Our motto all year is we’re 1-0. All we care about at the end of the week is being 1-0. We don’t care about nobody else. We’re going to enjoy tonight and tomorrow we’ll watch Novato film. At the end of every game, our goal is just to come out 1-0,” Talley said.

The Giants look to continue their winning streak, first place position and MCAL pursuit as they suit up against Novato High School on Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. on Novato’s home turf.

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