It looks like the home teams at Rabobank Stadium have settled in quite nicely.
The Palma High football team, one of the tenants at the new sports home on the northside of town, defeated Alisal 34-22 on Friday night.
With the win, Palma improved to 3-0 in the Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division and 4-3 overall. It’s the first time Palma has been above .500 overall this season.
For the sixth consecutive game played at the new stadium, the home team has won, be it North Salinas or Palma. The only teams to have won at the stadium are the four teams that took part in the opening-weekend doubleheader (Carmel and Salinas are the other two teams).
It was the “Brandon Oliveras the Ballcarrier Show” once again, as he compiled 196 yards rushing, scored three touchdowns and gave Palma a hefty cushion.
His first touchdown arguably brought the most cheers. At Alisal’s 18-yard line, quarterback Mitch Kidd faked a pass and did a slick handoff to Oliveras, who ran untouched into the end zone for a touchdown, giving Palma a 7-0 lead with 4:56 to go in the first quarter.
Palma scored on the first play of the second quarter when Olivares barreled in from three yards out, eventually giving Palma a 14-0 lead.
Alisal finally answered, going 65 yards on five plays to score. Quarterback Eduardo Valencia delayed just long enough to pass to an open Sammy Jimenez, who went 10 yards for a touchdown, closing Alisal’s deficit to 14-7.
Alisal then forced Palma to punt on a two-minute drive, and it appeared the game was going to be a tense one.
But Palma wore down the Trojans in the first half.
Olivares scored his third touchdown, going 17 yards with 3:53 to go in the second quarter to give Palma a 21-7 advantage. Kidd then found Ryan Scarr for a five-yard touchdown, and the homecoming-celebrating Chieftains led 28-7 at the break.
Miguel Mendez, closing in on 50 points scored for the season on kicks, booted two 27-yard field goals true.
Alisal closed the gap in the fourth quarter when Javier Lopez ran two touchdowns in, one from 48 yards and another on a three-yard reverse, to make the Palma faithful squirm in the seats just a little bit.
Kidd had 93 yards passing, throwing to six different receivers.
Lopez finished with 82 yards rushing, 77 coming in the second half.
Alisal lost for the third consecutive game and dropped to 2-5 overall, 0-3 in the MBL Gabilan Division. It’s the first time Alisal has lost three games in a row since a four-game slide from Sept. 23 to Oct. 14, 2011.
The Trojans will have a week to get ready for Monterey back home. Palma, next week, will head to ‘The Pit’ as it tries to beat Salinas.