Much changed for Casa once league play started

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A lot can change in a month. The Casa Grande Gauchos, for example, used to be 0-4.

Well, they’re not anymore — not even close.

The Gauchos have taken full advantage of the fresh start that league play provides. Their winless record has vanished, replaced by a 2-1 mark in the brand new Vine Valley Athletic League after their lopsided 40-7 win over Sonoma on Friday.

Casa Grande had its share of big plays on offense, but defense and special teams initiated the rout. Lineman Matthew Murphy had the type of quarterback sack defenders dream of, forcing a punt on Sonoma’s first possession.

Sonoma mishandled the snap on its next punt, and the Casa Grande defender made a swift tackle, setting the Gauchos up for their first touchdown.

But Murphy’s sack set the tone for the night. The Gauchos were not to be denied.

“We just worked together. We played as a family. We’re all brothers,” Murphy said.

One of Murphy’s brothers, running back Matt Herrera, had 66 hard-earned yards on 13 carries. He had the Gauchos’ first touchdown of the evening, on a red-zone run following Sonoma’s punting miscue.

“We just had to put the pressure on them and go all out,” Herrera said.

The Gauchos continued to apply pressure, even as they piled on the points. Up 19-0 at halftime after a short touchdown run from Jack Green and a picturesque, high-arching TD throw from quarterback Jadon Bosarge to Dominic McHale, the Gauchos came out firing in the second half.

Bosarge found Jordan Gramajo for a long gain to begin the third quarter, setting up another Herrera touchdown run. A second touchdown toss from Bosarge, this time to Carson Kerrigan, was followed up by a 65-yard scamper from the Gauchos’ signal caller. Bosarge’s TD run made the score 40-0 toward the end of the third quarter, putting the game away.

Bosarge draws inspiration from Casa Grande’s run to the playoffs last season after a 0-6 start. More than anything, however, he wanted this game.

“Senior (year) homecoming, that’s a must-win game. And we got the job done here tonight,” said Bosarge.

The win also opens new doors for the Gauchos. At 2-1 in league action under coach Denis Brunk with three games left to play, Casa Grande can finish its first season in the VVAL with a winning record.

That’s a far cry from being 0-4.

“It’s great that we were able to pull it together as a team,” Herrera said. “And it’s just really good to celebrate this win.”

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