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Nationally ranked Sierra Canyon too much for Garces

Canyon 1
Garces sophomore Jalani Smith reacts after a tackle in the first half against Sierra Canyon.

To beat a top-25 nationally ranked team, you have to be perfect, and the Garces Memorial football team wasn't that on Saturday.

Jason Jones scored three first-half touchdowns, and a Sierra Canyon team that's ranked third in California and 23rd nationally, flexed its muscle in a 42-0 win at Sam Tobias Field.

Jones, who finished with 109 yards from scrimmage, scored on runs of 13, 1 and 2 yards in the first half, while also blocking a punt, as the Trailblazers built up a big lead despite two second-quarter turnovers.

With two starting linebackers out, the Ram defense looked sharp early, getting a fumble recovery by Jensen Hallum, an interception by Elijah Toppila and a goal line stand in the first two quarters.

"It was kind of the opposite of what we thought (would happen)," Garces coach Paul Golla said. "We weren't sure if we could stop them defensively, but it was a great game for us. We put them in bad situations but they held them to basically 14 points in the first half."

The offense and special teams weren't as productive.

For the second straight week, quarterback-center exchanges gave the Rams problems, and the issues caused immediate problems Saturday.

Going for it on fourth-and-2 from the Trailblazer 46 on the game's opening drive, quarterback Travis Plugge couldn't catch a low shotgun snap clean, and by the time he picked the ball up, defensive end Caden Harman was right in his face for a sack.

Bad snaps killed momentum further in the second quarter. On the first play after forcing a Sierra Canyon fumble, the snap got past Plugge, who was brought down for a 10-yard loss after recovering it.

Issues then extended to special teams, as a 49-yard field goal attempt following the Toppila interception killed an opportunity to get points.

Golla says no one person is to blame for the issues, but hopes to see it get cleared up as quickly as possible.

"We're concerned, that's for sure," Golla said. "The majority of the snaps are good, so we do need to clean that up. If we need to go under (center) we've got to go under but we absolutely need to clean that up, because it's a combination of a lot of things."

Jones kept things going with a 35-yard reception on the first play of the second half, paving the way for a 21-point third quarter that ensured the fourth would be played with a running clock.

One of the third quarter touchdowns was set up by the Trailblazers' second blocked punt of the game.

Disappointed they couldn't be more competitive against a top-flight opponent, Golla says the Rams, who fell to 1-2 in the spring, need to find more consistency to avoid a disappointing end to the shortened season.

"When you play the No. 3 team in the state of California, or any great football team ... if you can't score points and you make turnovers, you're in trouble," Golla said. "That's just what it is when you play the next tier of football"