CCS Division II Championship Game Saturday Night

The Wildcats will face St. Francis tomorrow night at Westmont High School, 7:00 pm.  It is the CCS Division II Championship game.

It does pit the two most highly successful teams in the sections history, making It a big game for our players.  It is the 10th time in the last 13 years that the Cats have reached the championship game.  A record that is unmatched by any team playing this weekend.  

I Hope you can come out and support the boys, even if it will be a little wet.  It is also being streamed at Playonsports.com.  

I want to thank you all for your tremendous support through another long but successful season. This group of young men began practicing one week before school started, and will be playing in December just a few weeks before finals. August to December, then workouts will begin in January for next year.  Dedication is the word for the Cats football team.  

Coach Cattolico

Friday night was a very special football game

Friday night was a very special football game. The Cats struggled for most of the game against a really well prepared Wilcox team who we had defeated the first time we played. Finally, with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Brent McCoy striped the ball from a Wilcox ball carrier and got the ball back to our offense trailing by 7. A good pass and reception from Nick Bawden to Kyle Kevokrian, got us close enough to the endzone where Joey Wood carried it in for the touchdown. Logan Chapman kicked the extra point and the score was tied 14-14. When Wilcox came up short on a long field goal, the game went into overtime.

We lost the toss and were on offense first. On the very first play of overtime, Joey Wood went 10 yards for a TD and Chapman’s kick made it 21-14. The pressure was on Wilcox who now had 4 downs from the 10. On fourth and two they scored to make it 21-20. They decided to go for a two point conversion and the win rather than force another overtime. They ran their favorite play the option to the right, the quarterback turned it up and was stopped on the one yard line.

Final score: Los Gatos 21 Wilcox 20.

Needless to say the boys were very excited. Nick Bawden had a really good night as did kyle Kevorkian, Logan Chapman, Max Herman, Joey Wood, Matt Etterman, Teva Brender, and the entire offensive line.

On defense, Brett McCoy was outstanding as was Tyler Perkins, Bailey McNally, Nico Aimonetti, Kevorkian, Brender, Jack Tittle, Ty Doughty, Ricky Turnwall, Will Le and Max Herman. But as I told the boys in the lockerroom after the game, every player contributed to the win.

We worked through vacations with hard practices after an exhausting season. To beat a good team twice in a season, you have to work twice as hard. We beat Wilcox twice this year.

For the 10th time in the last 13 years the Cats are in the CCS finals. We play St. Francis 7:00pm Saturday night at Westmont High School. I want to thank all the people who came out to the game on the holiday weekend. The band, Cheer squad, teachers who worked the game, the custodians who prepared the field and others. The team really appreciates your support.

Coach Cattolico

Cats top Wilcox in overtime, on to CCS finals

It seemed somewhat appropriate to see the Los Gatos defense on the field for the final play against Wilcox in the semifinals of the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs last Friday night at Helm Field.

After all, it was because of the sensational performance of the defense that the Wildcats were still on the field at all.

Los Gatos and Wilcox had battled to a 14-14 tie through the regulation four quarters, and the Wildcats were up 21-20 in overtime with the Chargers attempting a two-point conversion for the win.

Nico Aimonetti and Bailey McNally had other ideas, though.

The two defensive lineman met Wilcox quarterback Kenny Dipko a yard shy of the goal line, and the stop set in motion an immediate celebration by the Wildcats–they were headed to the CCS finals for the second straight year and for the 10th time in the last 13 seasons.

"We get to play another game," said Los Gatos head coach Butch Cattolico moments after the thrilling win. But it’s not just another game–it’s another CCS championship game.

Los Gatos, the No. 2 seed in the CCS Division II playoffs, will take its 8-4 season record up against No. 1 St. Francis (7-5) on Dec. 1, 7 p.m., at Westmont High School. The Lancers are coming off of a lopsided 41-7 win over Aragon.

Los Gatos and St. Francis are certainly no strangers to one another. The Wildcats and Lancers met eight times in non-league games from 2003 through 2010. With the exception of

a 3-3 tie in 2007, St. Francis won every one of them.
The Wildcats, though, have had better success against the Lancers in the CCS playoffs. The clubs have met five times with each team winning twice and the teams playing to a 21-21 tie in the 2002 title game.

They first met in the 1984 CCS semifinals when the Lancers won 20-12 on a tiebreaker. A year later, Los Gatos won its first ever section football championship with a thrilling 14-12 win over St. Francis.

The Lancers whipped Los Gatos 34-7 in the 1994 CCS D-I title game, but the Cats returned the favor, blasting the Lancers 35-7 to win the 2001 D-III crown.

While St. Francis is coming off of an offensive explosion against the Dons, the Wildcats enter Saturday’s championship game after what was arguably their finest defensive effort of the year.

The Chargers finished Friday night’s game with 260 yards of total offense, but most of that came on two touchdown passes that totaled 113 yards.

"Our defense played really, really well," said Cattolico. "That was an excellent football game by our defense."

And never were they better than on four of the last five plays of the night, even if the Chargers did score a touchdown on the overtime series (that saw each team get four plays to score from the opponent’s 10-yard line).

Joey Wood had given the Wildcats a lead when he broke the first play in overtime 10 yards for a touchdown. Logan Chapman followed with what proved a very important extra point kick.

Brent McCoy, who led the Wildcats with 11 tackles in the win, came up with three big plays in overtime. He teamed with McNally to drop 220-pound Wilcox back Sione Finefeuiaki for a 2-yard loss on first down and teamed with Ty Doughty to stop Delshawn Mitchell at the 7-yard line a play later.

It was the next play, though, that may have turned the game. Dipko tried a keeper to the left but McCoy met him at the 2 with a bone-jarring hit. Mitchell scored on the next play, but when it came time for the two-point conversion attempt, Dipko chose to go right instead back at McCoy over on the left side–and he ran right into Aimonetti and Bailey who made the game-saving tackle.

It was a fitting end to what had been a hard-hitting and hard-fought game all night.

"It was the kind of game we expected when you play a team a second time," said Cattolico, whose Cats defeated Wilcox 35-21 in a league game back on Oct. 5. "These teams know each other very well."

That was evident from the beginning. Both teams like to run, but neither was having success on the ground in the early going. The Chargers then surprised the Cats, though, when Dipko tossed a 35-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Mitchell.

The Wildcats must have decided if it was good enough for Wilcox, it was good enough for them. Junior quarterback Nick Bawden led the Cats on a 12-play, 62-yard scoring drive that featured five Bawden pass completions.

"Our quarterback had a helluva game," said Cattolico of Bawden, who connected on 13 of 26 passes for 190 yards.

Los Gatos took over at its own 38 following a Wilcox punt with just 42 seconds left in the first quarter. Bawden tossed to Chapman for 17 yards, then scrambled for seven more on the next play to take the Cats to the Wilcox 38 to start the second period.

Matt Etterman ran twice for six yards out of the wildcat formation, then Bawden went to Kyle Kevorkian for seven more and a first down at the 25.

Following a holding call, Bawden found Chapman for 16 yards, but a sack on the next play left the Cats facing a third and nine at the 24. Bawden and Chapman hooked up on another 16-yarder for a first down at the 8-yard line.

A couple of penalties and a Wood run for no gain left the Wildcats at the 18, but once more Bawden and Chapman connected–this time for 17 yards to the 1.

After Wood was stopped for no gain, Bawden dove the final yard on a fourth-down quarterback sneak. Chapman’s kick gave Gatos a 7-6 lead with 6:00 left in the half.

That’s how it would remain until midway through the third quarter when Dipko went on top to Mitchell for 78 yards and a score. Mitchell ran in for two, and Wilcox was up 14-7 with 5:10 left in the third.

The clubs traded the football on turnovers before Gatos drove to the Wilcox 29 before turning the ball over on downs.

Teva Brender came up with a big hit for a 5-yard loss to force the Chargers to punt and the Cats took over at their own 45 with 9:36 left to play.

Wood made a sensational catch of a Bawden pass for 19 yards, and Kevorkian pulled in a 20-yard pass to the Wilcox 15. After a sure TD toss bounced off the hands of a Gatos receiver, Bawden hit Kevorkian for 10 and a first down at the 4-yard line. After three plays and a penalty, the Cats face a fourth and goal at the 8. Bawden scrambled but was stopped at the 3, and it looked like Los Gatos might be through as the Chargers took over with 4:02 left to play.

It even looked worse when the Cats jumped offside to give the Chargers a first down with just over three minutes left. But McNally and Aimonetti came up with a big tackle, and Brender recovered a fumble on the next play to give Gatos one last chance.

The Wildcats took advantage of the opportunity. Bawden threw to Kevorkian and the senior receiver cradled the ball between his hands and knees to be sure to make the catch. The 16-yard play took the Cats to the 3, and after hitting the line for two yards, Wood went over the right side for the final yard and the touchdown. Chapman added the all-important extra point that would ultimately send the game into overtime.

Wilcox got off a long 39-yard run by Mitchell, but a 47-yard field goal try was well short and the teams were headed to OT.

Bawden finished the night hitting Chapman four times for 66 yards, Kevorkian four times for 52, Wood four times for 51 and Brender once for 20.

Wood had 28 tough carries for 61 yards to lead the ground attack. Max Herman supported with 21 yards on five tries and Etterman carried four times for 11.

The Cats finished with 273 yards of total offense behind an offensive front of tackles Aimonetti and Alex Randolph, guards Kevin Tjon and Brendan Williams, center Dave Fishman and tight end Brender.

McCoy led the defense with his 11 tackles and McNally got in on 10–two for losses. Tyler Perkins finished with nine stops and Jack Tittle had seven tackles, one for a loss and one that forced a fumble. Ty Doughty had six tackles and a fumble recovery and Herman, Ricky Turnwall, Aimonetti and Brender added five stops each.

William Le was in on four tackles and Kevorkian, Tjon, Cody Marshall, Cameron Ackerman, Connor McKeen and Justin Hoijer were also in on stops. Kevorkian had a fumble recovery and a couple of deflected passes to his credit and Tjon also recovered a fumble.

"Our defense hit hard," said Cattolico. "This was a fun game to win."

Article written by Dick Sparrer for the Los Gatos Weekly News

Wildcats post impressive win over Falcons

It’s been one of those years when picking up big yardage on a single play has been no problem for the Saratoga football team.

Getting a single yard, though, is sometimes a little more difficult.

And that task proved impossible for the Falcons last Friday night in a key moment in a big game against Los Gatos when the powerhouse defense of the Wildcats proved impenetrable for Saratoga.

The Cats were leading just 21-10 late in the first half when Saratoga took over at the Los Gatos 14 following a bad snap on a punt attempt. A third-down pass from J.J. Walters to Kyle Dozier took the Falcons to the 1-yard line where they faced a first and goal.

That’s when the Los Gatos defense went to work. After Ty Doughty made the touchdown-saving tackle on Dozier at the 1, the Gatos senior teamed with Tyler Perkins, C.J. Butcher and Bailey McNally to drop Saratoga’s Bryson Yates for no gain on two consecutive plays. Saratoga fumbled the snap on third down, and Perkins recovered for the Cats to end the ‘Toga threat.

As it turns out, that would be the last real threat of the night for the Falcons, and Los Gatos would go on to post an impressive 28-10 win in the game between the longtime local rivals.

"I couldn’t be more excited for the kids," said a visibly pleased Butch Cattolico moments after the victory.

The Los Gatos coach went on to say, "I told the kids before the game that this was going to be a legacy game. I told them how important this game was to the program."

The players must have believed it. They went out and held a team that had been averaging more than 400 yards a game to just 192 yards of total offense.

"I can’t think of too many teams that have held them to 10 points," added Cattolico.

He’s right. The Falcons had been lighting up the scoreboard this fall, averaging 40 points a game through the first nine games of the season. The fewest point total for Saratoga had been 21 in a loss to Santa Clara.

The Falcons were hampered in the game, though.

"We were down two starting offensive linemen and that hurt us tonight," said Saratoga coach Tim Lugo.

"Our inability to run the ball hurt us, and there were passes out there that we normally hit," he added. "We had our chances tonight."

They’re best chance came at the end of the first half.

After the Falcons had stalled just over midfield, their defense went to work. Dozier, Chance Cox, Daniel Castronovo and Zachary Hansen came up with key tackles to force the Wildcats to punt. But the snap was high, and Gatos punter Logan Chapman had to fall on the football at his own 14.

The Falcons took over deep in Los Gatos territory with 2:26 left in the half, but McNally immediately made things tough on them when he sacked Walters for a 10-yard loss. Walters got the yardage back when he scrambled for 11, then he hit Dozier over the middle for 10, Doughty pulling him down at the 1-yard line.

Perkins plugged the hole to stop Yates on first down, then Doughty, Butcher and McNally stopped the tough Saratoga back for no gain on the next play.

The fumbled snap on the next play ended the threat.

The clubs traded the football through the third quarter and part of the fourth before they traded fumbles with just over nine minutes left. Christian Lee and Mike Fitzsimmons forced a fumble that Dozier recovered at the Saratoga 43 with 9:05 left in the game, but Jack Tittle recovered a Saratoga fumble on the very next play and the Cats were back in business.

The Wildcats then did what they like to do–run the ball behind their powerful offensive line of tackles Nico Aimonetti and Alex Randolph, guards Brendan Williams and Kevin Tjon and center Dave Fishman, with tight end Teva Brender and fullback Tittle contributing powerful blocks.

"Our offensive line was back healthy," said Cattolico.

The Cats moved 39 yards on seven running plays to face a fourth and goal at the Saratoga 3-yard line. Quarterback Nick Bawden rolled to his right and flipped a jump pass to the waiting arms of Max Herman in the back of the end zone.

"Max made a great catch," said Cattolico of Herman.

The coach was also pleased with the performance of his junior quarterback.

"He did a great job of managing the football game and throwing the ball," said Cattolico of Bawden, who hit on 6 of 9 passes for 76 yards.

With top receiver Kyle Kevorkian on the sidelines with an injury, Chapman stepped up with his best offensive game of the year. The junior wide receiver pulled down four passes for 60 yards, two of them setting up Los Gatos touchdowns.

"Chapman really did a nice job," said the coach.

Two of Chapman’s catches came on the first Gatos possession of the night, good for 12 and 11 yards and a couple of first downs. Sophomore back Joey Wood took advantage when he broke through the line for a 35-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the game. The first of four Chapman extra points made it 7-0 with 10:01 left in the first quarter.

The Falcons completed a couple of passes after the kickoff before William Le put them in a hole with a quarterback sack. On the next play, Brent McCoy picked off a pass at the Saratoga 45 and ran it down to the 26. A 15-yard pass from Bawden to Chapman set up Wood for a 1-yard TD run with 5:43 left in the half.

Saratoga answered that score with one of its own, though. Walters tossed 19 yards to Grant Faylor and Yates took off for 13 yards. After Walters and Faylor hooked up for another 13 yards, they connected for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 4:32 left in the first period. Fred Feyzi’s kick cut the lead to 14-7.

It was a pass interception by Saratoga’s Steven Ruff that got the Falcons going in the second quarter. Walters completions to Dozier, Faylor and Travis Stokes helped move the Falcons down the field before Feyzi drilled a 24-yard field goal with 8:39 left in the half.

Not to be outdone, though, the Cats came clawing back. Matt Etterman returned the kickoff 32 yards to the 33, then broke a 33-yard run out of the wildcat formation with another 15 yards tacked on the end due to a penalty. Wood got a big block from Herman to break a 12-yard run for a first down. A couple of plays later, Bawden snuck over from the 1 for a touchdown to make it 21-10.

That’s how it remained at the half thanks to big goal line stand by the Wildcats.

"We had worked on what we would do when they went into a three-back system and knew what we were going to do out of it," said Cattolico of the goal line stand.

But that stand was just part of the defensive story for the Cats, who gave the Falcons fits throughout the game.

Gatos put pressure on Walters all night, sacking him four times–Aimonetti had two and Le and McNally each had one. Perkins, Brender and Tittle each recovered fumbles and McCoy picked off a pass.

"Mark felt strongly that we needed to keep fresh bodies in there," said Cattolico, referring to defensive coordinator Mark Magagna. In all, 19 Cats got in on tackles in the win.

Doughty led the Wildcats with eight tackles and McCoy and Tittle finished with seven apiece. Two of Tittle’s tackles were for losses and McCoy had a pass deflection to go with his pick.

Aimonetti and Butcher each had six stops, Perkins and McNally five apiece and Herman four. Le, Cody Marshall, Chapman, Cameron Ackerman, Mike Mahoney, Wood, Myles Morrison, Connor McKeen, Brender, Matt Wilcox and Turnwall were also in on tackles.

Wood was the offensive leader for the Cats with 39 carries for 175 yards. Etterman supported with 48 yards on six tries, Bawden picked up 23 yards on seven carries and Le added 22 yards on eight attempts.

Despite giving up 334 yards of total offense, the Saratoga defense was solid, too.

"Our defense played great," said Lugo. "They were scrappy."

Henry Wei was more than scrappy, though, he was outstanding. The senior linebacker was in on 24 tackles to lead the Falcons.

Hansen finished the night with 13 stops, Dozier 11, Cox 10, Castronovo eight, Fitzsimmons six and Lee five.

Davis Berryhill got in on our tackles and Joey Mederios and John Moyles three apiece. Moyles picked off a Gatos pass and Dozier recovered two fumbles.

Faylor, Stokes, Jacob Marr, Abraham Salas and Jacob Camp were also in on tackles.

Walters finished the night hitting on 23 of 36 passes for 178 yards. He went to Dozier 10 times for 79 yards and Faylor eight times for 74. Yates caught two balls for five yards, Stokes one for 11, Ruff one for five and Berryhill one for one.

Article written by Dick Sparrer for the Los Gatos Weekly News

Outstanding Defensive Performance

The Cats got back on the right track Friday night with a 14-0 win over the much improved Santa Clara Bruins. The win featured an outstanding performance by our entire defensive team, and a good outing from the offense.

Santa Clara had been averaging 28 points per game through 8 games this year. The defense was led by Tyler Perkins, Bailey McNally, Kyle Kevorkian, Jack Tittle, Max Herman, Teva Brender, Cody Marshall, Zack Wiley, Brent McCoy and a very special game from Ty Doughty.

McNally and Doughty were two players who had not been playing much lately and gave the team great performances and a lot of enthusiasm when we needed a lift the most.

On Offense, Joey Wood was the work horse scoring both touchdowns and rushing for 130 yards. Nick Bawden had a very good game as did Teva Brender catching four passes. On the line, Brender, Kevin Tjon, Alex Randolph, Nico Aimonetti, Brendan Williams and Jack Jarnigan all played well. Will Le, Matt Etterman, and Max Herman also had good runs, and Jack Tittle was outstanding blocking from the Fullback position. Logan Chapman and Cameron Ackerman also had pass receptions.

The win clinched a playoff berth for the Cats making it 33 years in a row that the team has qualified for the CCS playoffs, and that is longer than some of you have been alive.

We will be headed off to play a very talented Saratoga team and a win would mean a home playoff game for the Cats. Good luck to all the Los Gatos teams in the playoffs, as well as all the students in the school play.

Thanks for all the support, and I hope you can make it out to Saratoga this Friday.

Coach Cattolico

Wood Scores Twice as Cats Shut Out Bruins

There were a lot of numbers that caught Butch Cattolico’s eye when his Los Gatos team battled Santa Clara last Friday night–Joey Wood’s 130 yards rushing, Bailey McNally’s 13 tackles, Teva Brender’s four receptions.

But the number that stood out more than the rest, at least as far as the Los Gatos football coach was concerned, was the big zero next the Santa Clara name on the stadium’s scoreboard.

"We played the best defense that we’ve played in a while," said Cattolico after his Wildcats blanked Santa Clara 14-0 to move back into a second-place tie in the De Anza Division of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League. "Defensively, the kids really stepped it up."

Cattolico was most impressed with McNally’s performance.

"He played a heckuva game," said Cattolico of his junior noseguard, who had two quarterback sacks among his 13 tackles and also forced a fumble that was recovered by Nico Aimonetti.

In addition to McNally, the coach praised the performance senior defensive back Ty Doughy, who ended the night with nine tackles.

"He just played an outstanding game," said Cattolico of Doughty. "He was all over the field.

But then, the coach was heaping on the praise for the entire defensive unit that held the Bruins scoreless and to 162 yards of total offense.

Senior linebacker Tyler Perkins had a big night with 12 tackles and Jack Tittle and Kyle Kevorkian were in on 10 apiece. Max Herman finished with seven, Brent McCoy and Wood six apiece, Aimonetti five and Zach Wiley four.

But as good as the coach felt his defense played, he was also pleased with his club’s running game as the Cats ran up nearly 200 yards on the ground.

Leading that effort was Wood, who raced for a season high 130 yards on 23 carries.

"He really ran well," said Cattolico of the 5-foot-10, 212-pound sophomore back. "We felt like we had to have someone with a little more explosiveness."

Senior William Le supported with 35 yards on nine carries, Matt Etterman ran three times for 19 yards and Herman picked up 11 yards on three tries.

Kevin Tjon, who moved from his starting guard spot to play center for the injured Dave Fishman, led the effort up front in the offensive line for the Cats.

"He has really been our rock up there," said the coach, who also praised the work of tackles Aimonetti and Alex Randolph and guards Brendan Williams and Jack Jarnigan. He also singled out Brender at tight end and Tittle at fullback for their blocking.

"We really did a nice job of blocking for our tailbacks and pushing the ball up the field," said Cattolico.

Junior quarterback Nick Bawden finished the night hitting on 6 of 12 passes for 93 yards, four of the completions going to Brender for 54 yards.

"He’s somebody who really stepped up and helped us," said the coach of Brender. "He had a real good night."

Logan Chapman caught one pass for 20 yards and Cameron Perry caught one for 15.

Los Gatos sputtered in the first quarter, despite running 18 offensive plays to just five for Santa Clara.

The Wildcats finally got untracked late in the second period when Bawden went to Brender for 27 yards, Wood ran twice for 16 and Chapman pulled in a pass for 20 yards to get the Cats to the Santa Clara 12-yard line. Wood ran three times for the final 12, scoring on an 8-yard run with less than 30 seconds left in the half. Chapman’s kick sent Los Gatos in up 7-0 at intermission.

The Cats moved the down the field for another touchdown in the third quarter. Brender had two catches for 24 yards, Wood ran three times for 20 and Etterman and Le picked up five yards apiece to get Gatos to the SC 6-yard line. Wood ran for five yards, then went the final yard for the score. Chapman’s second kick made it 14-0.

Santa Clara threatened in the fourth quarter, marching to the Gatos 10-yard line. But the Cats stopped the Bruins cold to take over the football with six minutes left. They managed to eat the clock with Wood, Le and Etterman running the football and secured the win.

Article written by Dick Sparrer for the Los Gatos Weekly News