Cats Open 2010 Season Saturday at Menlo-Atherton

Cats Open 2010 Season Saturday at Menlo-AthertonLos Gatos dominated San Mateo last Friday night in a football scrimmage at Helm Field, but coach Butch Cattolico is not yet ready to declare this team as another potential Central Coast Section powerhouse.

“I think the scrimmage showed that the Cats are not as bad as the coaches thought, but not quite as good as the players thought,” said Cattolico. “But that is usually the way it is.”
The next three weeks will show just how good this team really is. Los Gatos opens its season Saturday at 2 p.m. at Menlo-Atherton. The Cats then visit St. Francis on Friday, September 18 before opening their home schedule the following Friday against Salinas.

Over the last 10 years, no team in the CCS has won more games, and more championships, than Los Gatos. But will that continue into the next decade?
“I can tell you that without a doubt this is the strongest football team I have ever put on the field — at least from a weight-room perspective,” said Cattolico. “But whether that translates into an outstanding football season is still to be determined.”

Last year, Los Gatos finished 10-3 and won its 12th CCS championship. As always, Los Gatos graduated some very talented players, including quarterback Nick Hirschman, who is now playing at the University of Colorado, and wide receiver Andy Berg, who is catching passes at Harvard.

“But the players behind those guys were also very talented, and they are getting their chance this year,” said Cattolico. “The team work ethic this summer has been very impressive. These guys are hungry for their turn.”
Last season, Los Gatos relied on Hirschman and his receivers and were a pass-happy bunch. This season, the Cats look to be returning more to the ground.

Cattolico has a whole stable of running backs, led by senior Andy Heimer and junior Garret Zeiter. Heimer averaged seven yards per carry last year and scored nine touchdowns, but he missed five games with a separated shoulder.
Zeiter was brought up from the frosh-soph and started the first CCS game, rushing for over 100 yards. However, he suffered a concussion in that game and was also done for the season. Keeping the running backs healthy will be a big key for Los Gatos in 2010.

“Those two should give us a very strong running game,” said Cattolico, who said Jon Impey and Ben Hopner will both be in the mix as well with their outstanding speed. “We did not have a 1,000-yard rusher last year, but that will change this year.”

Junior Shane Smith and sophomore Max Herman are the leading candidates to be the fullback. Transfer Teddy Enfantino from Mitty will play both tailback and fullback as he learns the offense. Others vying for playing time are Rapheal Shin, Tyler Perry, Jake Ducharme and Lucas Alonso.
Senior Hayden Hibberd will take over the quarterback duties, and while he has some big shoes to fill, Cattolico does not sound too worried about it.

“Hayden is a very talented athlete who can run and pass,” said Cattolico. “He turned in an outstanding game against Palo Alto last year where he threw for 200-plus yards, and he has been waiting for his chance and is ready to take charge of the offense.”

Hibberd will also handle the punting duties. Backing him up will be junior Bryan Rose, who is coming off a very strong frosh-soph season. It will be hard to top last year’s receiving corps, and Cattolico is not even pretending that this year’s group can do that. But he still likes the talent he sees at that position.
“It is tough to replace Berg, (Jake) Hackman and (Sam) Bowers, but we will feature a very talented group in Dionte Cook, Andrew Tjon, Alec Nemirov, Tyler Olivet and Luke Hollander,” said Cattolico. He said that Cook and Tjon are emerging as the top two receiving threats.

Cattolico said that Nemirov is the strongest of the group and has good speed and toughness and runs outstanding routes. He said Olivet is the fastest and is faster than any of last year’s starters, but the senior still is trying to catch up after sitting out last year to concentrate on baseball.

Others in the mix at wide receiver are juniors Jake Bevans and Jackson Fondreist, who both started last year on the frosh-soph team. Senior Trevor Williams and junior Justin Williams have shown well this summer and may get some playing time. Trevor Comstock, Parker Beverly, Joey Comeau, Jimmy Eisner, Mitch Homeier, Caelan Morrison and Duke Lesu’I round out the receiving corps.

Hollander and Preston Rind are the leading candidates for playing time at tight end. Others battling there are junior Max Friday, senior Matt Gault, senior Chase Mardesich, and juniors Ryan Stojanovich, Connor Pieper and Nolan Cole. Rind, at 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, is also valuable at the right tackle position and may start there. Los Gatos is big and strong up front, and Cattolico is hoping his offensive line can open big holes for his running backs.
“The offensive line, as always, is a real key for us,” said Cattolico.

Taig McNulty and Rind are both returning starters who started all 13 games last year. Cattolico said that Blair Gardner will start at left guard next to McNulty and should be very physical. “Senior transfer Ryan Bertrand has been a real surprise at center and has worked very hard in the weight room,” said Cattolico. “Although a little undersized, he has shown great feet and his strength has improved to where we believe he can handle anything that comes his way.”

He said the right guard spot is still open, but three candidates have really come on this summer. Junior Forrest (Chuck) Sullivan looks strong but may have to play tackle if Rind moves to tight end. Sophomore Kevin Tjon has outstanding size, balance, and great speed and is pushing all the linemen hard, and senior Landon Cramer has had a great preseason camp.

The success of the defense, Cattolico said, will once again start and end with the linebacker play. Smith and Gardner will both go both ways and anchor the defense at the linebacker spots. Backing them up will be Taig McNulty and to sophomore Max Herman. Lucas Alonso and Chase Mardesich have also looked good this summer.
“At outside linebacker, McNulty is cut in the mold of Jared Allen and Karl Winkelman, who both have played this position in the past,” said Cattolico. “He will be a strong side guy who will also rush the quarterback.”
The secondary is led by Heimer, Cook and Andrew Tjon, who all played regularly last season. The defensive line has lots of possibilities, with Preston Rind leading the way. Also vying for time there are Areman Hashemi, Landon Cramer, Taig McNulty, Ryan Bertrand, Max Friday, Sean Niemann, Chuck Sullivan, Kevin Tjon, Derek Dombrowsky and David Bates.

Cattolico said that this year’s team will look different from the teams of recent years, but he is hoping the outcome will be much the same as in recent seasons. “Last year, we passed the ball because we had to,” said Cattolico. “This year, we will pass when we want to because a strong running game will not make it a necessity to throw.”

Randy Frey is a writer for the Los Gatos Observer, and is frequently showcased on

a Bus Ride, a Victory, and a Meal

Friday night after a long bus ride, the Cats returned to playing football the way it should be played. Scoring three times in the first quarter and twice more in both the second and third quarters The team beat a very solid Salinas High team by a score of 47 – 7.  

Andrew Berg was an absolutely special player on the field, scoring four touchdowns, two receiving, one running, and another on a dazzling 93 yd. punt return. He also had one of three team interceptions, made four tackles, and caught 7 passes for 139 yds. All of this while only playing two and one-half quarters of football.

Nick Hirschman had another outstanding performance completing 15 of 18 passes for 275 yds, and three touchdowns. Sam Bowers caught five of those for over 80 yds and a TD. Jake Hackman-Salazar caught a couple, and Andy Heimer caught one. Cole Cusella had his biggest night of the young season running the ball for 117 yds. on 9 carries, including a 70 yd burst in the first quarter. Cory McDowell also ran well chipping in 58 yds on 10 carries.

Leading the team on defense were Alec Gletzer and Suhkraj Sohal. Andy Aguiar recoverd a fumble and played well in his first start on defense. Andrew Berg, Sam Bowers, and Evan Witty, also had interceptions.

Everyone played on this night, and the Salinas Booster Club fed the team after the game. Other than a couple of very long bus rides, it was a great night for the team.

This week we start league play with Mtn. View at Helm Field. Mtn. View is coming in 3-0 on the season, and it is Alumni Weekend, so I hope you can all make it.

Who’s For Real When the Games Count?

The Cats open the 2009 De Anza League season against a strong Mtn. View team this Friday night at Helm Field. The Spartans are 3-0 in non league and have a very strong offense led by number 34 Alfonzo Brister, a senior fullback, and a good passing attack led by their quarterback number 9, Justin Hand.The Cats are coming off a big win over Salinas and should be ready for the challenge of the tough De Anza League. It will be Alumni Night at Helm Field and a good crowd is expected, to see a great game, and some great alumni players.

This game will be a test to see if Mtn. View is as good as their 3-0 record and see if the can get rid of the bad taste in their mouth from the last time they played here.It will be time to see which team is for real. It looks to be a real exciting league opener…as now the games really count.

Challenge: Get Over It and Move On

After a fast start and the Cat’s doing everything right, the team had a 14 – 0 lead in the first quarter. Then the wheels came off in the second quarter Friday night. The team fumbled the ball that led to a St. Francis touchdown and then stumbled through the rest of the game. The final score was St. Francis 24, Los Gatos 14.

It was truly a team loss and many players had a chance to pick the team up, yet no one could make the play that got us going again. This loss was devastating to the team, and now our biggest challenge is to get over it and move on before it causes more damage by having lingering effects on our minds.

St. Francis continues to be that bump in our schedule that we cannot seem to get by. I really thought this team had it in them to beat St. Francis, but unfortunately, it was not to be.

This Friday we travel to Salinas to play the Salinas High Schoool Cowboys, and we hope to find ourselves on the way back to playing the kind of football we are capable of playing. The Cats are down but hopefully not out.  We’ll have to see what happens in Salinas.  Thanks for all the support.

Cats Look to Rebound

Friday night Los Gatos travels to the Pit to play The Salinas High School Cowboys. Salinas is 2-1 on the year and plays in the tough Tri-County league.

The Cowboys are on a two-game winning streak and feature an outstanding running game led by their star fullback, Alvin Jenks.They are big and physical and could pose a problem for our defense.

The Cats are coming off a devastating loss to St. Francis and need a big game. The running game needs to come around before the league season starts.This game could be the indicator to whether this team is capable of having a balanced attack.

We don’t want to enter league play as a one dimensional offensive team.This should be a good game between two potential play-off teams. Hope you can make the trip to Salinas and watch some great high school football.

A Lot Can Change in a Year

It is surprising to me how we can make the mistake of assuming that last year’s successes translate into current year victories. This is high school level football and a lot can change from one year to the next. Last year Menlo-Atherton had a record of 11 wins and 2 losses, and they won their league championship for the second straight year. They then went on to win the CCS large school division championship.

It seemed like a natural to play them on this year’s schedule. Two returning champions competing to retain their crowns. If you were at the game Friday night, you saw for yourself how much can change in a year. Menlo-Atherton is not the same team. Final score: Los Gatos 56 Menlo-Atherton 7.

From the moment Andy Heimer touched the ball for the first time as a varsity player and returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, and Nick Hirshman threw 4 TD passes in his first 6 attempts, you knew that this game was not going to be close. The score at the end of the first quarter was 42-7.

The important thing here is that we played well. Nick was 9 of 10 for 222 yards and 4 TDs, with one dropped pass, and he only played the first half. Alec Gletzer, Jake Hackman-Salazar, Andrew Berg and Cole Cusella all caught TD passes. Berg led the team with 4 receptions and had a 75 yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter.  Cole had a TD run in the second quarter, and Heimer had a touchdown run in the third quarter.

Junior QB’s Nick Lamson and Hayden Hibberd each completed their only pass, one to Dionte Cook, and the second to Trevor Williams. Andy Heimer kicked 6 extra points and Jon Impey kicked the last two. Sam Bowers also caught two passes from Hirschman, while on defense, seniors Alec Gletzer, Joey Vizussi, and Suhkrah Sohal led the way with 10 tackles each. Mike Sporck, Charlie Zweng and Cameron Hashemi also played extremely well.

Many players participated in this team victory. Harrison Tinsley and Preston Rind each recovered fumbles, but the highlight of the night might have been Rapheal Shin recovering a fumble and rambling ten yards with Menlo players on his back.

There was also a very special presentation by the NFL Alumni Association at half time to make a presention to both the school and the Halpin family in honor of Mikey Halpin.

Next week the game will be very different and very competitive as the Cats host St. Francis at our place on Friday night at 7:30. Hope to see you there and thanks for all the support.


Friday Night Will Be a Challenge Against Lancers

This looks to be a great game with both Los Gatos and St. Francis ranked very high in the division II of CCS. ST. Francis is an extremely well coached and disciplined team that blew out Oak Grove in the season opener 35-0. They have tremendous speed and and an excellent running back in Nate Morace. They also have a very talented QB in Kyle Miller and some outstanding receivers.

Defensively they are also quite strong. It will probably be coach Mike Mitchell’s last year at St. Francis as he has announced he will retire from coaching at the end of the season. Mike is a Los Gatos resident and an outstanding coach. The Cats will need to perform better than we have in the last six meetings where we have only been able to scratch out one tie, while losing five.

It will take a quality performance to change the tide in our current streak against the Lancers but this team has the potential to accomplish the job. We need to make sure that we do not get too full of ourselves after the big win on Friday night, and approach this game with a sense of urgency. If we can do that we will be fine.

See you at Helm Field Friday night at 7:30 for the big game.
Coach Cattolico

Cat’s Not Too Sharp In Scrimmage

On Friday afternoon we scrimmaged San Mateo High School. Our first string offense scored twice and San Mateo scored once against the reserves. The offense had two fumbles and three penalties and that is a great concern to the coaching staff. The first team also dropped two touchdown passes and that needs to cleared up.

Defensively the first team defesne played very well and was the best unit we put out on the field. They held San Mateo in check for all of their 25 plays. In general however, the team did not look sharp and needs to improve as the level of competition obvioulsy will in the next couple of weeks. We are hoping for better focus and discipline on both sides of the ball.

Players who played well include Nick Hirschman (2 TD passes), Sam Bowers, Wes Bolliger, Andy Heimer and Dionte Cook on the offensive side. On Defense, Sukhraj Sohal, Alec Gletzer, Joey Vizzusi, Preston Rind, Mike Sporck, Wes Bolliger, Jake Hackman-Salazar, Dylan Lovit, Andrew Berg and Mike Martino all played well. This week it is the battle of two defending champions at Helm Field, as the defending CCS Large School Division Champions Menlo-Atherton come to town for ourt first game. Should be a good battle. On a somber note:

The NFL Alumni Association will be making a presentation to the Halpin Family, the school, and the football team in honor of Mikey Halpin before the game. The Association made a large donation to the family last year and would like to recognize Mikey for his efforts in becomming a high school football player and what he taught all of us about perserverance before his untimely passing last season.

Hope to see you at the game, Butch

Menlo-Atherton Preview

Anytime two defending CCS champions meet on the field, it is always a big game. However, the two teams that will come into Friday nights game are two very different teams than they were last year. While Menlo-Atherton, last year’s CCS large school champion, have a new new coach and a new system, Los Gatos has also made some big changes. The Cats are looking at a more wide open attack than the one that won them last years CCS medium school division championship.

Menlo-Atherton still has plenty of beef up front, and will have a substantial size advantage on the line. The Cats feature more experience in the skill positions with three returning receivers and a returning quarterback. Last week the Cats were not very sharp in their scrimmage and look to show much better discipline and polish on the offensive side of the ball.

On defensive the team played well but will have to deal Menlo-Atherton’s version of the spread offense called the pistol. As always the team that executes the best will prevail and we are hoping to improve over last weeks performance in our first game. The battle of two defending CCS champions should bring out a great crowd and give both teams a chance to show that their team has a lot going for them as they attempt to do one of the hardest thinks in any sport…repeat as champions.