Los Gatos defeats Menlo-Atherton in semifinals

Article by John Reid San Jose Mercury News
Photo courtesy of Bob Dahlberg

Menlo-Atherton performed one final Haka chant for old time’s sake. The third-seeded Bears had just lost to No. 2 Los Gatos 35-6 in a Central Coast Section Division II semifinal Friday night, so why not let loose? Menlo-Atherton finished the year 8-4, and Los Gatos (9-3) moves on to face St. Francis (9-3) in next week’s title game. “I’m proud of my team and I’m proud of the way they acted,” Menlo-Atherton coach Sione Ta’ufo’ou said. “Los Gatos dominated us in all three phases. We made mistakes at crucial times and you can’t do that against a team like Los Gatos.”

The Bears got a heavy dose of junior running back Joey Wood, who rushed for 212 yards on 23 carries, exiting after scoring on a 2-yard run with 6:07 to play. Wood — a bowling ball with speed who wears No. 4 — opened the scoring with a 19-yard run. He added TD runs of 24 and 22 yards in the third period to put the game out of reach. Wood has scored 11 touchdowns in two CCS games. “Joey Wood is pretty darn good,” Los Gatos coach Mark Krail said. “He’s the best back I’m coaching right now. We’re going to keep giving him the ball. He’s a heck of a physical runner.”

“No. 4 (Wood) is a hell of a player,” M-A linebacker Brian Jaggers said. “He runs hard and doesn’t mess around with the ball in his hand. We made a few mistakes and didn’t wrap up and gang-tackle.” In contrast, the Wildcats did a good job not letting Bears’ star running back Isaiah Nash get untracked. Nash had just 39 yards on 10 carries at halftime, ending his prep career with 40 yards on 13 carries. On his last rushing attempt, Nash limped immediately after he got the ball, gaining just 1 yard. “Nash was hurt,” Ta’ufo’ou said. “He was banged up.”

“We talked all week about putting hats on Nash,” Krail said. “We wanted to put bodies on him. He’s a good back. He didn’t have any big runs and that was our mission. Make him grind out every inch. Our defense played great. They played physical.” The Bears broke the shutout with 13 seconds remaining when Brian Keare connected with Ryan Roberts, who broke a tackle, then ran to the end zone for a 20-yard scoring play. The many M-A fans who hung around finally had something to cheer about.

Neither quarterback had a great night. Keare was 13-for-26 with three interceptions, while Nick Bawden of Los Gatos was 7-for-15 for 113 yards, also throwing three interceptions. At one sequence in the first half, interceptions were thrown on three straight plays. Menlo-Atherton had a difficult time laying a hand on Bawden for much of the first half. Bawden had time to find Logan Chapman on a crossing pattern for a 25-yard touchdown with 1:12 left in the first period.

Midway through the second quarter, Bawden fell down in the backfield for a 5-yard loss, the sack going to defensive end Oliver Bucka, who sacked Bawden on the next play for another 5-yard loss. Bucka is one of 24 seniors who will be missed next year. Jaggers leaves as one of the best linebackers to come out of Menlo-Atherton. “I’m proud of our season,” Jaggers said. “The seniors aren’t too happy it ended this way. It’s tough to lose at all, but we’re glad we got to play this one.”

LG — Wood 19 run (Chapman kick)
LG — Chapman 25 pass from Bawden (Chapman kick)
LG — Wood 24 run (Chapman kick)
LG — Wood 22 run (Chapman kick)
LG — Wood 2 run (Chapman kick)
M-A — Roberts 20 pass from Keare (kick failed)
Records — Menlo-Atherton 8-4, Los Gatos 9-3.

John Reid is a writer for the San Jose Mercury News.

Cats Run Past Vikings 59 – 34, Move on to Semi’s

The Cats ran over, around, and through the North Salinas defense in route to a 59 to 34 victory Friday night at Helm field. Joey Wood led the way with 313 yards on the ground, as the Vikings had no answer for the Cats ground attack. The only team that could stop the Los Gatos offensive machine this night was Los Gatos themselves as they scored on every possesion of the first half except for a drive in which Wood fumbled as he pushed for extra yardage. Wood more than made up for that minor blemish on the evening by punishing Viking defenders averaging over 11 yards a carry and scoring 6 touchdowns.

Senior Keegan Kreutzer had two rushes for 45 yards, and Coey Olivet had 6 carries for another 31 yards. After the smoke cleared, the Cats had ammased a total of 429 yards on the ground and another 153 yards passing for a total offensive barrage of 582 yards! When the Cats di pass, they were extremely efficient as Nick Bawden was 6 of 10 for 153 yards 2 TD’s and no interceptions.

The Los Gatos defense had their own problems with a high powered Viking offense that scored on their first two possesions and making it look easy as Viking receivers were wide open all over the field. After the first 4 possesions, 2 by each team, the score was locked at 14, and it seemed as though the winner would be the first to break serve. North Salinas QB Senior Justin Gutierrez hit wide open Senior David Dorr for a 53 yd pass to set up the vikings first touchdown to take an early 7-0 lead. The Cats came right back on their first offensive play after Joey Wood set them up on their own 42 yard line, as QB Rick Bawden hit Cody Marshall in stride for a 58 yard touchdown pass, and the score was even at 7.

On the vikings next drive Gutierrez connected with Dorr once again for a 25yd stike to the Cats 28. It took N. Salinas 6 more plays, but they got it in the end zone with a 2 yd run by senior Mario Gonzalez making the score N. Salinas 14 Los Gatos 7. Joey Wood returned the Viking kick off 42 yards to their 34 yard line, then smashed down to the Viking 10 on the very next play. Two plays later, Wood finished off the drive with a 1 yard TD.

The Cats finally stopped the Vikings when they forced and fumble that was recovered by Senior Cole Wisecarver on the N. Salinas 32 yard line that led to a Logan Chapman 23 yard filed goal giving the cats their first lead of the night with 1:59 left in the first quarter. Wisecarver would come up big again ending a Viking drive with an interception on their 44 yard line. The Cats looked poised to extend their lead using a punishing running game to move down to the Viking 10, but the ball was knocked from Woods hands and recovered by N. Salinas on the Los Gatos 19.

After a couple of short gains Gutierrez found Dorr once again streaking wide open down the middle of the field taking the ball doen to the Cats 15 yard line where Senior Jacob Robante ran it around the right side of a Viking score and the lead 21-17. The lead would be regained for good on the Cats next drive as Wood took it in for one of his 6 TD’s on the night. The Los Gatos defense tightened and really took control in the second half as the offense continued to roll up 59 points.

The Cats will be looking for a little revenge as they will host Menlo-Atherton in the semi-finals of the division II CCS Championship 7:00 this Friday. Menlo-Atherton upset the favored Cats 19-10 in their first meeting this year, but this one is of much greater importance than a non-league season match-up.

2013 CCS Division II Playoff Bracket

Div. II Champion
Winner Round 2
Winner Round 1
6 Oak Grove 5-5        
3 Menlo-Atherton 7-3
Winner Round 1
7 No Salinas 7-3         
2 Los Gatos 7-3         
Winner Round 2
Winner Round 1
5 Palo Alto 5-5          
4 Leland 7-3             
Winner Round 1
8 Andrew Hill 8-2      
1 St. Francis 7-3         

GAME TIMES

Andrew Hill at No. St. Francis, Friday at 7 p.m.
Palo Alto at Leland, Saturday at 7 p.m.
North Salinas at Los Gatos, Friday at 7 p.m. Helm Field, Los Gatos High School
Oak Grove at Menlo-Atherton, Friday at 7 p.m.

Los Gatos beats Milpitas, earns share of SCVAL De Anza Division title

Corey Olivet did it all for Los Gatos on Friday night, and the reward was a share of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division championship for the Wildcats. Los Gatos prevented Milpitas from winning the outright title, stunning the Trojans 55-34 as Olivet caught two touchdown passes, rushed for one, threw for one and returned one of his two interceptions for the clinching score.

Not a bad Senior Night for Olivet. “That was just one for the ages,” Los Gatos coach Mark Krail said of Olivet’s contributions. Los Gatos, Milpitas and Wilcox will share the De Anza title, but Wilcox is expected to receive the division’s automatic berth into the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs because it has more power points than the other two.

Los Gatos will play in its enrollment division (Division II) and Milpitas (Division I) will do so, too, unless it gets help for an Open Division at-large berth. Given where Los Gatos stood two weeks ago, its piece of the championship is nothing short of amazing. The Wildcats bounced back from a 42-7 loss at home to Wilcox on Nov. 1 to win at Palo Alto last week and then stun the division’s only unbeaten team Friday.

“We just never gave up,” said Olivet, who signed this week to play baseball for San Jose State. “We went out that next Monday, forgot about that (Wilcox) game, worked hard in practice and got two more wins. “It feels great. I don’t even know what to say right now. I’m speechless.”

Los Gatos led by seven points at halftime Friday, scoring in the closing seconds after Milpitas had tied the score, and then took charge in the third quarter behind the speedy Olivet, a center fielder on the baseball diamond. The first half was about as wild it gets. Los Gatos scored touchdowns on its first two possessions and had a chance to stretch the lead after recovering a fumble inside Milpitas territory. But the Wildcats fumbled the ball right back to Milpitas, and soon the Trojans were roaring back into the game.

Ronnie Reed’s 12-yard pass to Christian Rita pulled the Trojans to within 14-7 early in the second quarter. The two connected again on Milpitas’ next series, from 63 yards, as the Trojans evened the score 14-14. Its early momentum gone, Los Gatos gave the ball to its punishing tailback, Joey Wood, and the junior quickly reclaimed the edge. Wood lowered his shoulder pads and ran over a handful of defenders on a 30-yard run that gave Los Gatos a 21-14 lead.

Milpitas answered as Reed threw a string of short passes to get the Trojans deep into Los Gatos territory. On first down from the 6, Reed and receiver Tre Hartley got a little fortunate. The ball deflected off another Milpitas receiver at the goal line and into Hartley’s hands for a touchdown that made it 21-21 with 54 seconds left before halftime.

But Los Gatos was not finished. Rather than run out the clock, Nick Bawden threw a screen to Olivet, and the playmaker raced 53 yards through the middle of the field before being tackled at the Milpitas 29. On the next play, Olivet took a handoff and ran toward the left sideline. He stopped as defenders approached and threw a 29-yard pass that Logan Chapman caught for a touchdown that gave Los Gatos a 28-21 halftime lead.

“We said all week as coaches that we’re going to go out and try to win this game. We’re not going to play cautious,” Krail said. “We pulled a bunch out of our hat tonight, and we felt this was the game to do it.” The result: A share of a league title for the first-year Los Gatos coach.

LG — Marshall 18 pass from Bawden (Chapman kick)
LG — Olivet 8 run (Chapman kick)
M — Rita 12 pass from Reed (Bunyard kick)
M — Rita 63 pass from Reed (Bunyard kick)
LG — Wood 30 run (Chapman kick)
M — Hartley 6 pass from Reed (Bunyard kick)
LG — Chapman 29 pass from Olivet (Chapman kick)
LG — Olivet 21 pass from Bawden (Chapman kick)
M — Canada 4 run (Bunyard kick)
LG — Chapman 22 FG
LG — Chapman 23 FG
LG — Olivet 21 pass from Bawden (Chapman kick)
LG — Olivet 42 interception return (Chapman kick)
M — Kim 46 pass from Keller (kick failed)
Records — Milpitas 8-2, 6-1; Los Gatos 7-3, 6-1.

CCS Division II playoff brackett

Article by Darren Sabrdra San Jose Mecury News

Wilcox uses big plays to roll past Los Gatos

The big game Friday night between Wilcox and Los Gatos will be remembered for the big play. Wilcox had five touchdown plays that went at least 49 yards as the Chargers broke open a tight game in the second half to beat the Wildcats 42-7.

Quarterback Kenny Dipko scored three touchdowns after halftime, on runs of 54, 53 and 27 yards. Delshawn Mitchell added a touchdown in each half, on runs of 49 and 64 yards. Alex Ortiz also had a big play, returning a punt 65 yards for a touchdown.

It all added up to a huge victory for ninth-ranked Wilcox (7-1, 4-1) and a big disappointment for No. 11 Los Gatos, which entered the night tied for first with Milpitas in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division. “We want to be going downhill,” Wilcox coach Dan Brown said. “We want to be doing our thing. Kenny Dipko played outstanding.” Dipko finished with 150 yards rushing. Mitchell ran for 140.

“It’s really exciting, especially against Los Gatos, because they’re a good football team,” Dipko said. “I can’t remember the last time we beat them, so it’s really exciting to get a win against them especially.” Wilcox led 14-7 at halftime, but Mitchell began the second-half eruption for the Chargers with a 64-yard run to stretch the lead to two touchdowns. The Chargers never looked back.

“The game tonight was close for a half, and we didn’t capitalize on a couple of opportunities,” Los Gatos coach Mark Krail said. “Their offense is tough to defend, and they run it well.” Wilcox made the game look like a mismatch in the opening minutes. After withstanding Los Gatos’ first possession, which ended with an unsuccessful fake punt from the Chargers’ own 40, Wilcox speedster Mitchell went to work.

The senior carried three straight times, the latter a 49-yard burst through the middle of the field that ended in the end zone. Los Gatos went three-and-out on its next series and punted. The Wildcats kicked the ball away from Mitchell, but the star running back’s teammate, Ortiz, showed off his speed. He took the punt back 65 yards for a touchdown that extended Wilcox’s lead to 14-0 less than five minutes into the game.

But Los Gatos bounced right back behind Joey Wood’s punishing ground attack. The standout carried eight consecutive plays, moving the Wildcats from their 14 to the Wilcox 10. Nick Bawden then threw a 9-yard pass to Corey Olivet before Keegan Kreutzer barreled in from the 1 to cut the Wilcox lead to 14-7 late in the first quarter.

Los Gatos had a great chance to even the score moments later, recovering a fumble at the Wilcox 35. But after reaching the Chargers’ 20, Los Gatos fumbled the ball back to Wilcox. Later in the half, Los Gatos drove from its 25 to the Chargers’ 13. But the drive ended with an incomplete pass.

Matt Wilcox intercepted a pass with just seconds to go before halftime, returning it 30 yards to the Wilcox 25. But Los Gatos couldn’t score on that possession, either, as the Chargers intercepted a pass in the end zone. “The first half, we had the ball in the red zone twice and came away with nothing,” Krail said. “It’s just one of those nights. But in the big picture, with the respect to the championship, it doesn’t really change things. We win the next two we’re co-champs and on to the playoffs. “While it hurts a little right now, we’ve got to learn and bounce back and get ready to go play Palo Alto.” Wilcox 14 “‚0 “‚14 “‚14 — 42 Los Gatos 7 “‚0 “‚0 “‚ 0 — 7

W — Mitchell 49 run (Bowles kick)
W — Ortiz 65 punt return (Bowles kick)
LG — Kreutzer 1 run (Chapman kick)
W — Mitchell 64 run (Bowles kick)
W — Dipko 54 run (Bowles kick)
W — Dipko 53 run (Bowles kick)
W — Dipko 27 punt return (Bowles kick)
Records — Wilcox 7-1, 4-1; Los Gatos 5-3, 4-1

Article by Darren Sabrdra San Jose Mecury News