Gators cling to playoff hopes with win over Coronado

Julian Hulse rushed for 152 yards and three touchdowns and Christian Mayberry — a wide receiver turned quarterback — threw for two scores as Green Valley kept its postseason hopes alive with a 35-17 win over host Coronado 35-17 on Friday night.

Green Valley (4-4, 1-3 Southeast League) hosts Foothill next week for potentially one of the last remaining playoff spots.

Mayberry came into the showdown between the two Henderson schools as the Gators’ leading receiver, but was pressed into duty as the team’s emergency quarterback against the Cougars (2-6, 0-4), who also were trying to rally for a postseason berth.

“It was a pretty hard week,” Mayberry said. “I hadn’t played there since youth football in sixth grade. I found out on Monday.

“This was huge for us not only for the playoffs, but because our schools are so close.”

Fortunately, the Gators also had Hulse to help lead a potent ground attack to ease the transition, until Mayberry found a wide open Brayden Anderson for an 80-yard touchdown on a flea flicker early in the second half.

“We have been working on that trick in practice,” Gators coach Brian Castro said. “Fortunately, it worked out for us in the game.”

Mayberry’s second scoring strike was a 16-yard toss to Logan Beard with 11:05 remaining in the fourth quarter for the go-ahead score.

“The first half was a struggle as we were trying to figure out what we had at quarterback,” Castro said. “He (Mayberry) is a football player. We knew if we could get him some confidence, he would be able to handle things for us.”

Hulse added two late touchdown runs of 20 and 32 yards.

Coronado struggled to move the ball consistenly on offense and was stymied by penalties. The Cougars thought they took they lead on a late touchdown pass, but an offensvie pass interference call negated the score and Gators defensive back Ty Rivera intercepted a pass on the ensuing fourth-and-long.

“I saw their No. 2 (D’Angelo Bottley) was lined up outside,” Rivera said. “He went straight out and I stayed with him. They threw the ball up and I was able to make a play.”

Hulse converted a key fourth-and-1 on the next drive and scored four plays later. Rivera also grabbed a second interception.