THORNTON — It took a year, but Keith Gille seems to be well on the way to changing the football culture at Alameda. The Pirates, who won just one …
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THORNTON — It took a year, but Keith Gille seems to be well on the way to changing the football culture at Alameda.
The Pirates, who won just one game in Gille’s inaugural season following his successful stint at Yuma, rode the dual-threat rushing of Lupe Pacheco and Lucious West to a season-opening, 12-0 victory at Skyview on Saturday.
It was no mean feat, considering Skyview is coming off consecutive winning seasons, topped by a 7-3 mark in 2011 that included a 42-7 rout of Alameda.
Alameda clearly was the better team in the opener.
The Pirates only completed one pass for 4 yards, but their double-wing offense pounded out 241 yards rushing on 51 carries behind Pacheco (20-151) and West (20-73), who each accounted for a touchdown.
And a defense that allowed 395 points a year ago held Skyview’s 1-2 running punch of Daniel Guevara and Emillio Daigle to 107 yards on 23 carries while limiting the Wolverines to 162 yards total offense.
The Wolverines averaged 28.4 points and 35 yards per game in 2011.
Skyview coach Bill Nelson could only tip his hat to the job Gille has done at a school that had three coaches in the three years before his arrival. “They’re way better than they were last year,’’ Nelson said. “They played a little better defense than they did last year and executed much better (on offense). They made a ton of mistakes (against us) last year.’’
Nelson knew the Wolverines would be somewhat of a work-in-progress, especially on offense where they had to replace star running back Kyle Bowers (1,376 yards) and quarterback Sergio Lara (1,349 yards passing, 374 rushing).
Still, Skyview moved the ball early, but had nothing to show for it. Alameda recovered a bad option pitch at its 31-yard line in the first quarter, and Darius Montgomery’s intercepted a Deion Pena pass and returned it to the Wolverine 19, setting up Pacheco’s 10-yard run up the middle for a 12-0 Pirates lead with 59 seconds left in the half.
Earlier in the quarter, Pacheco broke a 62-yard run to the Skyview 10, which led to West’s 1-yard plunge for the first touchdown.
Pacheco started up the middle and cut left toward the sideline, where he juked a Skyview defender just across midfield before being chased down by Dominique Brown.
“We kind of lost the momentum; I thought we were controlling the game at that point,’’ Nelson said. “We hadn’t scored but we were moving the ball every time we had it.’’
Skyview began its final three drives from its 20, 14 and 13, but managed just one first down.
The offense was hamstrung in the second half by the loss of Guevara (32 yards in the first half) to a sore ankle that limited him to defense and the lack of a passing threat (Pena was 4-of-9 for 29 yards passing in the first half but misfired on all nine of his second-half attempts).
“We’re finding a way to live without (Bowers),’’ Nelson said. “We’ve got to shore up our passing game. We’ve really got a good running game; we had backs a couple of times break wide open. T
hey had the big (62-yard run by Pacheco), but otherwise we probably had more big plays, runs of 10-15-20 yards.
“But when we went to our passing game, it took us out of our rhythm.’’
Considering Alameda runs the double-wing offense, Nelson was pleased with Skyview’s defensive effort. “They had two touchdowns,’’ he said. “One was set up by a 60-yard run - which was by far their longest run of the day - and the other was set up by the interception. That all happened in about a minute and a half.’’
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