Gauchos Rout Sentinels

Led by a stout defensive effort, the Narbonne Gauchos break it open in the second to come away with a huge victory in their season opener…

Coming off their season opening loss to Long Beach Wilson, the Inglewood Sentinels looked to rebound against Narbonne in what was the season opener for the Gauchos. The game offered an intriguing matchup as Inglewood's Shaquelle Evans, the top wide receiver on the West Coast, was set to go toe-to-toe with USC commit Byron Moore. Moore, projected as a safety at the next level, is also a talented receiver in his own right. The Gauchos also feature an elite junior in their defensive backfield in Sean Parker. All three players would play integral roles for their respective teams, but ultimately, Narbonne's duo would prove to be too much for the Sentinels.

The first half was a defensive showcase as neither teams' offense were able to do much. On their first offensive drive of the season, Narbonne relied on their dominant running game to take the offense down the field for the score. Junior tailback Melvin Davis, listed at 6'2" and 220 pounds, provided the power while his senior running-mate Thomas Gray utilized his shiftiness to scamper into the endzone from four yards out on third down.

Still in the first quarter, Inglewood would answer back on their second drive of the day as Shaquelle Evans showed why he is sought after by so many of the nation's top collegiate programs. On second and nine from Inglewood's own twenty-nine, Evans took a bullet pass off a slant route, shook off his defender, and turned up the field for a huge seventy-one-yard touchdown reception. The Sentinels would miss the point after to make the score 7-6 in favor of the Gauchos.

Neither team did much of anything on the offensive side of the ball for the rest of the first half. Following Inglewood's touchdown, it looked as if momentum would swing to the visiting Sentinels as Evans, this time from the safety spot, came up big on Narbonne's next offensive possession. On first and ten from their own twenty-yard line, Narbonne quarterback Josh Moten had his pass picked off by Evans, and Inglewood took possession with great field position at the Gaucho eleven-yard line. However, the Gauchos defense held strong as Inglewood came up empty on a field goal attempt on fourth and twelve from the twelve-yard line. The two teams would go into halftime with the score remaining 7-6, Narbonne.

The second half was another story for Narbonne as their defense came up big to put points on the board, and put their offense in great positions to score. Led by defensive tackle Justin Jackson, the Gauchos blocked Inglewood's fourth down punt attempt on the second half's opening drive to give them the ball at the Sentinel thirty-eight-yard line. The Gauchos used sheer muscle to drive down towards the goal line, as Inglewood's defensive line had no answer for the power running of Davis. On first and goal from the ten, Davis took a handoff right and into the endzone, but an offensive facemask penalty negated the score and brought the ball back out to the twenty-one yard line. Undaunted by the setback, Moten delivered a beautifully thrown ball to his right to find Byron Moore for the touchdown, and to make the score 14-6, following the extra point.

On that touchdown drive, it appeared as though Shaquelle Evans went down with cramps, as he lied on his back on the field for quite a while, and was unable to perform during Inglewood's ensuing possession. With or without Evans, the Sentinels were unable to do much as Narbonne's defense proved to be too much. If there was a player of the game, it certainly might have been Justin Jackson who was constantly in the backfield and causing havoc for the Sentinel offense.

Jackson's only competition for such an honor might have been Sean Parker who, in the fourth quarter, picked off two passes and took both back down the field for defensive touchdowns. Melvin Davis added another score for the Gauchos, while Inglewood's only other score came on a touchdown pass to tight end Marcus Howard. Parker's second interception and return for a touchdown made the final score 34-13, Narbonne over Inglewood.

Inglewood will look for their first win of the season as they take on Kilpatrick next week in Malibu, while Narbonne looks to remain undefeated as they travel to take on Hamilton.

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