SAN GABRIEL - Playing in football's version of a pitching duel, San Gabriel High overcame the battle of the defenses Friday night and defeated visiting Maranatha, 9-0, in the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
San Gabriel takes on host Arroyo High next Friday night after the Knights knocked off Sierra Vista High.
Matador coach Jude Oliva was very proud of his team after the win.
"It was really good defensively," he said. "We're normally a high-powered offense, but in the playoffs it's defense and special teams. We feel like we did a good job in those areas."
Oliva added San Gabriel (7-4) had to make some adjustments at halftime while leading just 3-0.
"(Maranatha) did a good job with our passing game, so I told the kids to come out and be physical up front," Oliva said. "The offensive line did a great job. They did some special things."
The Matadors were led by quarterback Andy Guerrero. Guerrero completed 12 of 23 pass attempts for 96 yards and rushed for 64 yards on 17 carries with one touchdown.
"It was my line," Guerrero said. "They stepped up big. Without my line I'm nothing."
San Gabriel got on the board with 34 seconds left in the first half when kicker David Rivera capped an eight-play, 24-yard drive with a 43-yard field goal that barely made its way through the lower left-hand corner of the upright.
An interception by San Gabriel's Eric Alvarez early in the fourth quarter set up its lone touchdown when he caught the ball near the Maranatha 35-yard line. That allowed Guerrero and the Matador offense to march 33 yards in eight plays, with Guerrero scoring from three yards out on third-and-goal with 7:36 left to play in the game.
(Shel Segal can be reached at