By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Scoring three times on a mere seven plays, Casa Grande came out scorching against Windsor in another statement-making effort, as the Gauchos kept rolling in the playoffs.
The Gauchos played with clear purpose in the 42-7 win, making sure that while heavily favored, they respect all teams good enough to still be competing in the Division 2 North Coast Section playoffs.
“We had to get that mentality,” said Daniel Greisen, a Gauchos captain. “It’s all about the prep work. We knew they were playing better. We definitely came out with fire.”
Matching the quick start was a hard-hitting defense that throttled a high-scoring Windsor offense. Casa Grande outgained Windsor by a total of 322 yards to 76 in the first half.
Windsor didn’t help its chances with some spotty play early and not taking advantage of good field position on a pair of second-quarter possessions. Still, the Jaguars played with the heart that carried the team to a playoff run.
“It’s definitely not the way we wanted the season to end. But we got this far,” said Julian Tomayo, a captain who anchors the Windsor line.
With the win, Casa Grande earns another home playoff contest. Coming to Petaluma next is Montgomery — like Windsor, a North Bay League rival — for an NCS semifinal.
Playing familiar foes that Casa Grande handled easily in regular season action is no guarantee of future success.
Yet, the Gauchos look every bit as good as their top seeding in NCS Division 2.
Sharp again was dual threat quarterback JaJuan Lawson with 304 yards of total offense — all but 25 coming in the first half. On the Gauchos’ first play from scrimmage, Lawson ran 64 yards, shaking would-be tacklers for Casa Grande’s opening score.
Casa Grande needed just two plays to reach the end zone again. John Porchivina took a swing pass from Lawson and plowed 74 yards for the score.
Taking advantage of great field position after another stout Gauchos defensive sequence, Casa Grande scored again on a four-play drive capped by a 13-yard Lawson run.
“We kept the pedal on the floor,”said Greisen, a fullback and defensive end. “We had to play physical. We didn’t want them to get going.”
Leading the Gauchos on defense were Miles Gardea — with five tackles and a sack — and Cody Hughson with two sacks.
One area of concern remains penalties. Casa Grande continues making too many mistakes that could hurt in closer contests.
“We’ve been trying to clean it up. We’re going to need to avoid those going forward,” Gresien said.
On the other sideline was a Windsor team that worked hard just to make the playoffs. Young in varsity experience coming into the season, Windsor made great strides culminating in a second round playoff appearance. The Jaguars improved weekly, made the playoffs with a league-ending victory and then won a road playoff contest.
“These last few games showed what we could do,” said receiver and defensive back Jalen Roman, who topped the team in tackles against Casa Grande.
Jaguars’ running back Christian Roberge scored Windsor’s lone TD, a 75-yard run and finished with 120 yards on the night. Windsor coach Vic Amick, in his second year leading Windsor after the Jaguars 2011 section title campaign, was proud of the Jaguars growth.
“The players were willing to do whatever it takes to see each other succeed,” Amick said. “They believe and trust each other and don’t want to let each other down.”