Tidehaven ready for playoff run ahead

 

Tidehaven has reeled off two wins in a row and in doing so the Tigers have clinched the third spot in District 14-3A. 

Tidehaven blasted Ganado 34-7 last Friday to earn a playoff berth and now the Tigers have turned the tide on a season that appeared headed in the wrong direction.

“We have a long ways from the beginning of the year until now,” said Tidehaven Head Football Coach David Lucio. “At the same time, it is more of a relief to clinch the spot because our expectation was to make the playoffs this year.

“We feel that we have earned the position and we are ready to make a run now,” Lucio said.

Cade Galvan, who rushed for 182 yards on 19 carries, paced Tidehaven. Galvan also played most of the game on the defensive side of the ball as well.

For the game, Tidehaven limited Ganado to only 106 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Tidehaven’s Call Davant forced two fumbles while Joey Kacer forced another fumble. In all, Tidehaven had five turnovers from Ganado including a 35-yard return of an interception for a touchdown by Gordo Moreno.

Quarterback Blake Garcia hit on six-of-eight attempts for 142 yards passing with one touchdown. The game also featured the return of Alex Hernandez, who was playing in second game since coming back from a broken arm suffered before the season. Hernandez hauled in a touchdown pass and recorded an interception against Ganado. 

Joey Kacer recovered an onside kick in the third quarter after Jojo Montague distracted the Ganado team with a back flip prior to the kick.

“Probably the coolest onside kick in the history of onside kicks,” Lucio said. 

When the season began for Tidehaven, the Tigers suffered through an 0-4 start to a tough non-district schedule.

“I have had some success early in my coaching career here with some impressive teams and when it comes to making a pre-district schedule teams that normally would want to play us, didn’t want to play us this year,” Lucio said. “I would try to explain that are rebuilding so that our schedule a lot tougher this year.

“As a coach you never want to admit you are going to struggle because you want to think you will find a way to win,” Lucio said. “But I knew the schedule was going to be tough on us with this young team.”

Coming into the season, Lucio knew it would be a battle for Tidehaven to win but he also knew his team was talented to grow as the season went on.

“I would tell the kids from the start that we were going to leave it on the field,” Lucio said. “I told them to not be discouraged early in the season because our non-district schedule was tougher than our district schedule and our district schedule is as tough as they come in the region. I knew if we could survive all of that we would come out better than we did the day before.”

Lucio said a key point to the season came after the bye week.

“I tell people we were born again after the bye week,” Lucio said. “It have us a chance to sit back and re-evaluate ourselves. We used the bye week as a two-days and had long practices and we scrimmaged at the end of the week. We had at least 10 new starters the next week. I feel like we are in week three or four of the season and not week 10.”

Lucio said he could see his team staying with the program and growing from each game.

“In the early rough going, they stuck with the plan,” Lucio said. “We laid out the plan and it was easy for the kids to stay focused and they have. Usually in a season like this, you have kids quitting but this team took each loss as a learning lesson.”

The early season struggles were even made into a joke early in the season. 

“We would tell the kids that this was going to be a season where they are going to make a movie about it later,” Lucio said. “We knew we were going to take on some hard times at the beginning but we would be pretty impressive at the end. Now, they walk around and say when are they going to start filming this movie.”

But before the playoffs are set to begin, Tidehaven will host Bloomington at 7:30 p.m.

“It means nothing but it means everything,” Lucio said. “Standing wise it means nothing but we don’t want to go into the playoffs stumbling but go in rolling. We don’t want to use this as an off week but we want to go in rolling.”

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