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Los Gatos built a two-score lead on the road Friday night at St. Mary’s-Stockton, fell double digits behind in the fourth quarter and then staged a dramatic rally in the closing minutes.
But after scoring on Dru Brown’s 1-yard run, recovering an onside kick and then driving to the 2-yard line, Los Gatos lost a fumble in the waning seconds and fell 35-32.
Harrison Hibberd’s 3-yard run and Joey Wood’s two-point conversion gave Los Gatos a 25-22 lead in the third quarter.
But St. Mary’s answered with two touchdown runs by Marcell Spady, the first from 11 yards, the second from 6.
Brown’s 1-yard run cut St. Mary’s lead to 35-32 with 2:16 left.
St. Mary’s entered the game having lost in double overtime at St. Ignatius on Saturday. Los Gatos was trying to complete a 4-0 non-league schedule.
LG — Plane 18 pass from Brown (Sedgwick kick)
LG — Sedgwick 26 FG
SM — Righetti 7 pass from Ferguson (Stephen Gudino run)
LG — Brender 12 pass from Brown (Sedgwick kick)
SM — Ferguson 10 pass from Righetti (Jumaoas kick)
SM — Ferguson 35 pass from Righetti (Jumaoas kick)
LG — Hibberd 3 run (Wood run)
SM — Spady 11 run (Jumaoas kick)
SM — Spady 6 run (PAT failed)
LG — Brown 1 run (Sedgwick kick)
Records — Los Gatos 3-1; St. Mary’s-Stockton 3-1
LOS GATOS — Los Gatos High senior football player Matt Wilcox was the Wildcats’ Swiss army knife Friday night. Wilcox caught a game-high eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns while adding an interception on defense and blocking a punt on special teams that led to a touchdown in Los Gatos’ 35-14 victory over visiting San Benito.
“The whole team played really well,” said Wilcox. “Sometimes the ball just finds you and tonight it found me.”
Wildcats senior quarterback Dru Brown threw for 171 yards on 15-of-21 passing with two touchdowns and an interception. Brown also added a two-yard touchdown run. Senior running back Joey Wood ran for a game-high 117 yards on 19 carries including a touchdown in the win.
Los Gatos (3-0) ended San Benito’s season shutout streak when Joey Wood bulldozed through four would-be Haybalers’ tacklers for a 27-yard touchdown run to give Los Gatos the lead 7-0 at the 1:52 mark of the first quarter.
“It was a dog fight both ways,” Wood said of the game against San Benito. “We tried pounding it in and they stacked the box on me and I couldn’t do much but that’s why we have Dru Brown. He’s a phenomenal quarterback and he just dropped it over the top of them and started throwing touchdowns.”
Brown was nearly perfect in the first half. Brown completed 15 of 17 first-half pass attempts and even scored on a two-yard touchdown run on top of his two first-half touchdown passes. Los Gatos went into halftime up 28-7.
“It’s easy when we got all the time in the world, my linemen did great blocking for me,” said Brown. “We know that teams are going to stack the box because (Wood) has established himself as such a good running back so we figured the play action will just open itself up.”
San Benito didn’t go away quietly. After an unsuccessful first drive to start the second half Andrew Sotelo intercepted Brown’s first pass attempt of the second half giving San Benito great field position. mSix plays later the ‘Balers got within two touchdowns after a Kyle Cameron three-yard touchdown run.
“We have a lot of respect for their defense so every yard that we got tonight was a battle,” said Los Gatos coach Mark Krail. “It’s punch, counter punch and you are going to put your best player out there and if they take that away than you have to have answer and we did.”
Wilcox made arguably the play of the game when he blocked a San Benito punt and Jake Parinello picked it up and scampered 30 yards for the touchdown with 29 seconds left in the third quarter. After a Walker Sedgwick extra point the Wildcats went up 35-14 and the ‘Balers wouldn’t get any closer.
“We thought it was going to be a battle from the beginning and they gave it to us,” said San Benito quarterback R.J. Clark. “It was our first loss we’ll learn from it and get better from it. There’s always something you can learn from a loss.”
Clark ran for 46 yards on nine carries including a touchdown in the loss. The senior was 5-of-11 passing for 26 yards including a touchdown. Wilcox and Colt Doughty recorded the interceptions for Los Gatos. Wood ran for a game-high 117 yards on 19 carries including a 27-yard touchdown in the win.
San Benito (2-1) will be over the hill again next Friday when the Balers visit Oak Grove (0-2) of San Jose at 7:30 p.m. Los Gatos will travel to Stockton next Friday night for a date with Sac-Joaquin Section power St. Mary’s at 7:15 p.m.
“It’s going to be a real tough matchup,” Wilcox said of facing St. Mary’s. “It’s going to be a battle they are a great football team that you have to prepare for.”
By RYAN SILAPAN, WATSONVILLE
Menlo-Atherton lost to what could be the best team on its schedule on Friday afternoon, falling to visiting Los Gatos 35-7 in a nonleague football contest.
The Bears (0-2) broke the shutout on a 19-yard pass play from Robby Beardsley to Chase DelRosso with 6:06 minutes to play. It was the first TD of the season for the Bears, who scored only three points in the season opener.
“I hope we got better,” Menlo-Atherton football coach Sione Ta’ufo’ou said. “Los Gatos is a very good team with great running backs. They play hard and they’re disciplined. I hope us playing teams of that nature, we turn into a team like that.”
The Bears did a pretty good job of controlling Wildcats star back Joey Wood, who finished with 81 yards on 15 carries. Wood was a brute, however, when it came to smelling the goal line, scoring on runs of 3, 11 and 8 yards. Wood also caught a screen pass in the right flat from quarterback Dru Brown, cutting back across the grain for a 45-yard gain. That set up a fourth TD for the Wildcats, who scored with 48 seconds to play in the first half.
Brown completed 14 of 17 for 186 yards and no interceptions. Brown had touchdown passes of 3 and 12 yards to Miles Beach.
“We were trying to stop their run game because Joey (Wood) starts their offense,” Ta’ufo’ou said. “He runs hard and you have to gang tackle him. Their quarterback made plays. He was impressive. He was a good quarterback.”
One of the few highlights for the Bears was a 40-yard kickoff return by Cole Shaffer midway through the second period. Shaffer was brought down by the final defender at the 50-yard line. The Bears made a first down on an 11-yard pass from Beardsley to Shaffer. Hard-running fullback Stavro Papadakis powered his way for a 10-yard gain to the Los Gatos 29. Papadakis recovered his own fumble for a 3-yard loss. Beardsley was sacked for a 5-yard loss, then threw an incomplete pass and the Bears were forced to punt. Beardsley made good on 9 of 15 pass attempts for 87 yards.
The Bears’ lone touchdown drive was set up when a hard hit forced a Los Gatos fumble. The ball rolled a ways and Ezequiel Galvan-Navarro recovered on the M-A 17 right before the end of the third quarter.
Playing with a running clock, the Bears went 11 plays for the score. DelRosso caught a 10-yard pass, then Marcus Moimoi ran for 9 yards. A 14-yard pass to DelRosso got the ball to the Wildcats’ 43-yard line. Moimoi, who rushed for 30 yards on seven carries, peeled off a 12-yard run. Beardsley hit Papadakis for a 10-yard gain, then Tyrique Johnson rushed for 11 yards. Two plays later, Beardsley found DelRosso in the left flat. DelRosso got the sideline on his way to paydirt.
The Wildcats received the opening kickoff and nearly fumbled the ball away. The ball was loose for some time, but the Bears couldn’t catch up to it. On M-A’s first possession, a bad exchange caused a fumble and the Wildcats’ Nick Kryvicky recovered, setting up the second TD for Los Gatos.
Los Gatos 14 14 7 0 — 35
Menlo-Atherton 0 0 0 7 — 7
LG — Beach 12 pass from Brown (Sedgwick kick)
LG — Wood 3 run (Sedgwick kick)
LG — Beach 3 pass from Brown (Sedgwick kick)
LG — Wood 11 run (Sedgwick kick)
LG — Wood 8 run (Sedgwick kick)
MA — DelRosso 19 pass from Beardsley (Calderon kick)
Records: Los Gatos 2-0, Menlo-Atherton 0-2
Article by John Reid staff writer for San Jose Mercury News
Photo by Bob Dahlberg