The San Francisco 49ers Charlie Wedemeyer Coach of the Week award for week three goes to Jubenal Rodriguez (pictured in the white shirt) from Gilroy High School in Gilroy, CA.
The Gilroy Mustangs were able to walk away Friday night with a big win over the Live Oak Acorns by a score of 47 – 28 and improve their record to 3 – 0 on the season. The win did not come as easily as one might think when looking at the score for Coach Rodriguez’s team. Gilroy found themselves trailing throughout the first half, but a scoring drive with 36 seconds left in the second quarter would help Coach Rodriguez’s team spark a 28 – 0 scoring run that would help give the Mustangs their third straight victory this season.
The Mustangs found themselves down early due to Live Oak’s stand out quarterback and aggressive defense. Coach Rodriguez had nothing but high praise for the opposing quarterback, saying, “He is one of the best high school quarterbacks I’ve seen in a long time and is only a junior. He was making college level throws all night.” As for the Acorns’ defense, Coach Rodriguez described their aggression as a motivating factor for his offense.
The Acorns believed that they would walk into the locker room with the lead and the momentum after scoring from the 1-yard line with 36 seconds remaining in the second quarter to make the score 21 - 12. The Mustangs would not be able to take the lead going into the half, but they made sure they would be the one’s carrying all of the momentum into the locker room. Gilroy would drive down the field to the opposing 20-yard line with one last chance to score before the first half ended. That is when Gilroy quarterback Jon Jon Castro would find tight end Andrew Castro for a 20 pass and touchdown as the clock ran out. Gilroy running back Joseph Barnes would go on to convert the two-point conversion, putting Gilroy down by one point as they walked into the locker room with the score at 21 - 20.
Coach Rodriguez, on the touchdown before the half, said, “My staff realized that Live Oak was stacking the box all night and didn’t leave anyone deep. We were able to get the ball off and carry the momentum into halftime.”
In the locker room Coach Rodriguez would orchestrate a defensive adjustment that would allow Gilroy to keep Live Oak’s dynamic offense from scoring for much of the second half. “We noticed the pass rush was getting too far up field so we adjusted in the locker room. I told our defensive line that they needed to break down before they got to the quarterback, which allowed us to get 6 or more sacks throughout the second half. Our front four was aggressive and quick off the ball allowing us to put pressure on Live Oak’s quarterback, especially in the second half,” said Coach Rodriguez on his defense adjusting after the half.
The Mustangs came out of the locker room executing a near perfect game on offense and defense. The offense would go on to score three more touchdowns before Live Oak was able to score again. The offense thrived because of several big plays by quarterback Jon Jon Castro and running back Joseph Barnes. This 40 – 21 score would be a large enough lead for Gilroy to leave their home field with the win.
However, Live Oak would give Gilroy one final test. In the fourth quarter, Live Oak would close the gap to twelve points, threatening a late game rally, but the Mustang’s offense would answer once again.
Jon Castro would find tight end Andrew Castro once again on a 59-yard touchdown pass to put Gilroy ahead 47 – 28 and ending any hopes of a comeback that Live Oak may have had.
Quarterback Jon Jon Castro would end the night with 277 yards passing and four touchdowns. He was able to make big time plays and Coach Rodriguez made sure to highlight what his performance meant to the Mustangs.
“This is the best passing performance since he’s been here. This is the type of performance he expects from himself and what we as a staff expect from him. I’m proud of the way he executed the play calling,” said Coach Rodriguez on the three-year starter.
Junior running back Joseph Barnes stood out offensively by racking up 244 yards rushing and scoring on three touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns came on the ground while the third came on a 79-yard screen pass to help give the offense some life early in the game.
“Joseph is a special player. He is the type of guy that doesn’t stop running. There have been times when four guys are trying to tackle him and it doesn’t work,” said Coach Rodriguez on Barnes.
Offensively, Coach Rodriguez made sure to highlight his offensive line’s performance. “The offensive line had a lot to do with our protection running and passing. They did a fabulous job,” Coach Rodriguez said.
He also made sure to praise the defensive effort of several of his players. Inside linebacker Spenser Soares was able to lead the defense picking up numerous tackles. Nose guard Alex Felix caused chaos in the Live Oak backfield thanks to his speed and quickness. Andrew Castro proved to be not only the spark on offense, but a defensive nightmare for the Acorns’ offense.
As a standout two-way player at tight end and defensive end, Andrew Castro’s performance could not be ignored. Andrew scored on two very important plays and was able to gain over 100 yards receiving. As for the other side of the ball, Andrew racked up multiple tackles, several of which were for a loss, to go along with a forced fumble.
“Andrew is one of our squad leaders. He is the anchor on the defensive front as the end. His technique is just great. He’s a real hidden gem,” said Coach Rodriguez on Andrew Castro’s performance. “He has the size and strength to play at the next level along with the grades.”
Coach Rodriguez believes his team finally learned that consistency was key to this being a successful season and that they now believe they can play with any team they have on their schedule. “After the last two games we’ve finally woken up. After this game my guys feel like they can play with anyone and are looking forward to the big games we have coming up. Our confidence shot out of the roof after this game, that was a great team we just beat.”
The third year head coach says that when he isn’t busy with football he likes finding time to get away from the sport and enjoy life. Fishing on the lake gives him a chance to get away and find some peace and quiet to clear his head from the busy life of a coach.
On winning the award, Coach Rodriguez said “It is an honor. Charlie Wedemeyer is such an inspiration to anyone who has been through adversity in life.” Coach Rodriguez also gave a large amount of the credit for winning the award to his coaching staff saying “My coaching staff is the real award winner in my eyes because of the sacrifice and time they have put in. I know they will be very excited.”
As our Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week, Jubenal Rodriguez will receive a $1,000 grant for the Gilroy High School football program from the 49ers Foundation. As part of this award, he will also receive two tickets to a 49ers home game where he will be recognized on the field. Coach Roberts will also be invited to visit the SAP Performance Facility to watch a closed practice where 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan will officially present him with his award. Coach Rodriguez will be featured on the 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Report On Sunday's at 6 & 10 PM on NBC Sports California and re-broadcast throughout the week. Congratulations, Coach Rodriguez!