Cats Dominate Falcons, Next Up Wilcox

The cross town rivalry continues but Saratoga will need to wait another year in hopes of beating Los Gatos. The Cats defense was so dominate, that the Falcons didn’t score until the last minute of the game when #13 William Liddle hit a 26 Yd pass to #21 Jordan Vogel for a TD, but a sign of the evening, they missed the PAT.

Aviv Brender started the scoring for Los Gatos with a 4 Yd run to the end zone, as the Cats would return 5 more times on the night with scores by Quinn Spiteri, Ryan Gault, Miles Beach, Joey Wood, and Nick Stojanovich. Walker Sedgwick was perfect on PAT’s for the night.

Dru Brown had a great night passing and was 12 of 15 for 156 yards and TD, he finished with a QB rating of 134. Other offensive standouts were Joey Wood who average over 5 yards a carry and led the Cats on the ground with 43 yards, and Ryan Gault who had a 26 yard run for a touchdown. Nick Occhipinti led in receiving yards with 53,  while Matt Wilcox, Dylan Plane, and Miles Beach also contributed in the aerial assault. 

The Los Gatos defense was fired up and just missed a shutout of the Falcons in the last minute of the game. Jake Holton led the defense in tackles with Quinn Spiteri, and Mitchell Schwager following close behind. The defensive line hurried Liddle all night long and kept the Falcons from mounting any threat until late in the fourth quarter.

The Cats now turn their attention to the Wilcox Chargers who are 6-3 on the season, and would very much like to end the Cat’s regular season with a loss in front of the Chargers home crowd. Los Gatos wants to finish strong going into the playoffs and looks to disappoint Wilcox with a win in Santa Clara.

The records never seem to matter much in the this match up, as Wilcox and Los Gatos have always played each other very tough, and we should expect the same next Friday night at Wilcox.  

Milpitas holds on to beat Los Gatos

With the clock winding down and Los Gatos closing in on the end zone Friday night, Milpitas dug in and held its ground to stay unbeaten. Victor Rodriguez intercepted a fourth-down pass a few yards from the goal line with just under a minute to play, securing a 27-21 victory that all but clinches the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League’s De Anza Division championship for Milpitas, the Mercury News’ top-ranked team. “We worked too hard to come this far to lose,” defensive lineman Tevita Musika said after the victory celebration. “It was either now or never.” Milpitas (8-0, 4-0) had yielded just six points in its previous four games. But Friday, Los Gatos struck for 14 in the game’s opening minutes.

The fourth-ranked Wildcats (6-2, 3-1) went 76 yards on their opening series, converting two third-down plays, and running back Joey Wood capped off the drive with a 2-yard run to make it 7-0. Milpitas fumbled on its first offensive play, and Los Gatos struck right away as Dru Brown fired a 45-yard strike to Matt Wilcox to make it 14-0 with 8:10 left in the first quarter. “We scored those two quick ones and then offensively we kind of sputtered through the second and third quarters,” Los Gatos coach Mark Krail said. “They’re very stout up front, and it was tough running the ball. We gave it our best. They’re a good team, obviously.”

Milpitas answered the two early touchdowns with a 73-yard drive to pull to within 14-6. Christian Rodriguez scored the touchdown from 3 yards out. Christian Rita made it 14-13 when he returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter, and John Keller’s 46-yard pass down the middle to Dion Leonard gave Milpitas a 19-14 lead three minutes later. Keller said his teammates kept their composure after Los Gatos’ early strikes, telling themselves, “We’re still in this game. This is just the first quarter. There is nothing we can’t overcome.”

Los Gatos reached the Milpitas 16 late in the first half but was stopped on downs. Leading 19-14 at halftime, Milpitas stretched its advantage to 27-14 in the third quarter when Rita turned a quick pass to the sideline into an 11-yard scoring play. But Los Gatos quickly responded. On a razzle-dazzle play, Brown caught a backward pass and then threw a 38-yard pass to Nick Occhipinti to cut the Trojans’ lead to 27-21 heading to the fourth quarter. Wilcox’s interception in the end zone gave Los Gatos one final chance as the Wildcats took over at their 20 with 4:49 left.

Brown, a scrambler, consistently had Milpitas’ huge linemen chasing him all over the backfield but the quarterback kept making big plays. “It was like trying to catch a mouse,” Musika said. “It was hard.” The Wildcats reached the Milpitas 13 but a fumbled snap, two incomplete passes and the interception kept Milpitas perfect on the season. “We were telling ourselves, this is our senior night, this might be our last home game,” defensive end Jason Scrempos said. “You’ve got to put it all on the line.”

MILPITAS 27, LOS GATOS 21

By Darren Sabedradsabedra@mercurynews.com

Cats Not Gracious Guests to Bruin Hospitality

The Wildcats visited Santa Clara Friday night, the previous home of their head coach Mark Krail. Los Gatos was not a very gracious guest as they pummeled the Bruins 63-7 in front of their home town hosts. The Cats racked up over 500 yards of offense, while holding the Bruins to under 200 yards. This was a dominating performance by Los Gatos as they prepare for Palo Alto next week.

The rushing attack was led by Jack Salcido with 57 yards, followed close by Ryan Gault 54 yards, Jake Parinello 52 yards, Jordan Howell 50 yards, and Quinn Spiteri 49 yards. That was one great running attack spread out among a lot of Wildcat rushers. Dru Brown led the aerial assault. Brown was 12 of 16 for 215 yards and a touchdown to Quinn Spiteri. Matt Wilcox was the star receiver on the night with 4 receptions for 75 yards. Grant Rosenbaum caught 2 passes for 54 yards while Hunter Impey, Nick Occhipinti, Jake Parinello, and Aviv Brender also contributed to the Cats air attack. The Cats rushers hit pay dirt 8 times on the night, AJ Trapani, Ryan Gault, Jake Parinello, Aviv Brender, Quinn Spiteri, Jack Salcido, Jordan Howell, and Ian Mccollam all had a rushing touchdown. The ground attack was anchored by the offensive line that pushed the Bruins around all night.

Colt Doughty, and Jake Holton led the Los Gatos defense with 6 tackles each, but their were plenty of other defensive players that contributed to holding down Santa Clara.  Jordan Howell, and Brendan Ross each had an interception, and Nick Stojanovich had a sack. The defense was punishing all night as the Bruins could never get into an offensive rhythm against a strong Wildcat defensive line. 

Los Gatos will play host to the Palo Alto Vikings next Friday night, and although the Vikings record is not what it was in the past, they always play the Cats tough, and would like nothing better than to play spoiler in this match-up.

Cats Too Much for Matadors

The Los Gatos team was ripe for a let down. Coming off a bye week and a heartbreaking loss to Saint Mary’s, it would be easy to overlook the Monta Vista Matadors. That did not happen Friday night. Other than a slight break down on special teams that allowed Max McCann to run back a kick off for a touchdown, the Cats were flawless, as much as a 63 to 14 trashing can be flawless.

Coach Krail and his staff have this team playing at a very high level and nothing seems to get them off track to their 2014 goal, another CCS championship. The Wildcats are keeping pace with a standout Milpitas team that seems just as focused as Los Gatos, and it looks as if the DeAnza title may be determined on Halloween when the Cats travel to the Trojans house for this anticipated matchup… Trick or Treat.

But let’s not overlook the Wilcox Charger, they may have something to say about who ultimately wins the DeAnza prize, and they always play the Cats tough. The Matadors, however were no match for a focused Los Gatos team that was clearly superior and scored 63 points to prove it. A total of 10 players carried the ball for a combined rushing total of 253 yards. Jack Salcido led the Cats rushing attack with 78 yards on only 3 carries, that is an average of 26 yds. per carry. Salcido also had a TD. Joining him with TD caries were Hunter Bigge, Dru Brown, Harrison Hibberd, Nick Stojanovich, and Jordan Howell.

The defense had an outstanding night limiting the Matadors to just 144 total yards of offense. Jake Holton led the defense with 9 tackles, Zach Smits had 8, while Colt Doughty and Nick Kryvicky had 6 tackles. But there were a lot of players making plays on defense including Hunter Bigge, Dylan Plane, Jake Parinello, and John Cruse. The Cats defense caused 4 fumbles on the night.

It was a solid performance for Los Gatos who will travel to Santa Clara next week to face the Bruins, and they will need another win to keep pace with Milpitas and Wilcox in the highly contested DeAnza division.

Heartbreaker Loss to St. Marys

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 Runs Past San Benito, 35-14

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
Prep2Prep.com

MA Can’t Measure Up to LG

Photo by Bob Dahlberg

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

Los Gatos makes a strong statement…

Los Gatos makes a strong statement in a season-opening win over Archbishop Mitty

LOS GATOS — Nine months after ending the previous season with a statement-making win over a traditional West Catholic Athletic League power, Los Gatos began the new season by beating another one.

Joey Wood rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns to propel the Wildcats to a 21-13 victory over Archbishop Mitty before an overflow crowd at Los Gatos.

The triumph follows Los Gatos’ win over St. Francis in the Central Coast Section Division II championship game last December.

“We know that’s the best league around,” Los Gatos coach Mark Krail said. “It’s a good measuring stick. Mitty is going to be a good team. They play hard. They’re physical. It feels good. Our guys are riding a little bit of confidence from our win last year. That definitely helped them to feel that they belong on the field with these guys.”

Los Gatos built a two-touchdown halftime lead behind Wood, its senior running back, and then answered Mitty’s third-quarter score with a 21-yard touchdown strike from Dru Brown to Nick Occhipinti.

Mitty scored on the game’s final play but cost itself with numerous penalties, spoiling Dave Brown’s first game back as coach.

“Way too many” mistakes, said receiver Benjamin Granberry, who caught a 34-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that cut Los Gatos’ lead to 14-7.

After a scoreless first quarter, Wood wasted little time giving Los Gatos, ranked fifth in the Mercury News Top 15, the lead in the second. Two plays into the quarter, the powerful running back burst through a hole and rumbled 40 yards into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

No. 3 Mitty, which beat Los Gatos the previous two seasons, went three-and-out on its next series, and Wood went right back to work. He gained 6 yards on first down and then found daylight on the right side on second down. He outraced the last line of defenders to the goal line for a 56-yard touchdown run, extending Los Gatos’ lead to 14-0 with 8:31 left before halftime.

At that point in the game, Wood had 130 yards in eight carries.

“That’s all the line,” Wood said. “I didn’t do anything on that. Those two plays, I got down the first 40 yards of the field untouched because the line opened up some great plays. I’ve got to put it on them.”

After Wood’s second touchdown, Mitty responded with its best drive of the half, moving from its 33 to inside the Los Gatos 10.

Along the way, the Monarchs converted three third-and-long plays into first downs, effectively calling draws to fullback Luke Allen and getting a clutch pass from quarterback Brett Foley to Ben Manley.

But once inside the 10, Mitty went in reverse. An illegal block and a hold moved the ball back to the 34. Mitty reached the 9 again, but a false start and an incompletion ended the threat.

With time running out in the half, the Monarchs held Los Gatos deep inside its territory, seemingly giving themselves one more opportunity to score before the break.

But a roughing-the-punter infraction kept the ball in Los Gatos’ possession, and the Wildcats took a 14-0 cushion into the locker room.

“It means everything, especially for me,” Wood said of the win. “I was on varsity for two years, and we lost to Mitty twice in a row. To come back and beat them is the greatest feeling ever.”

LOS GATOS 21, ARCHBISHOP MITTY 13

Archibishop Mitty 0 0 7 6 — 13

Los Gatos 0 14 7 0 — 21

LG — Wood 40 run (Sedgwick kick)

LG — Wood 56 run (Sedgwick kick)

AM — Granberry 34 pass from Foley (Eppel kick)

LG — Occhipinti 21 pass from Brown (Sedgwick kick)

AM — Monroe 25 pass from Foley (no PAT attempted)

Records — Los Gatos 1-0; Archibishop Mitty 0-1.

Article by Darren Sabedra, San Jose Mercury News

 

CATS Rated Most Dominate Team By MaxPreps

Most dominant Central Coast Section football teams in the MaxPreps era

It has been 10 years now that MaxPreps has put out football computer rankings, presented by the Army National Guard. That’s plenty of time to come up with a solid list of which programs have been the most dominant during the MaxPreps era.

For the purpose of the rankings, each team will be awarded points based off where it finished in the computer rankings. For example, if a team finished No. 1 overall it receives 25 points. If the team finished No. 25 overall, it would get one point. A team also receives 30 points for winning a section title and 15 for being the runner-up.

1. Los Gatos – 375 points
Overall record: 96-27-4

The Wildcats have racked up five section titles and 10 Top 25 finishes since 2004, making them the section’s most dominant team in the MaxPreps era.

2. Valley Christian (San Jose) – 326
Overall record: 85-37-1

Valley Christian captured back-to-back No. 1 finishes from 2004-05, winning section titles in both seasons.

3. Bellarmine (San Jose) – 314
Overall record: 89-32-1

Bellarmine has recorded seven Top 5 finishes over the past 10 years, winning three section championships along the way.

4. Palo Alto – 303
Overall record: 100-31-2

An undefeated season in 2010 helped the Vikings secure one of their three section titles.

5. Serra (San Mateo) – 272
Overall record: 78-39-1

Serra lays claim to nine Top 5 finishes and two section titles.

6. St. Ignatius (San Francisco) – 269
Overall record: 59-53-4

The Wildcats have won three section titles and have not missed the Top 25 over the past 10 seasons.

7. St. Francis (Mountain View) – 254
Overall record: 68-443-5

St. Francis has finished in the Top 10 nine times, claiming one section championship in the process.

8. Oak Grove (San Jose) – 233
Overall record: 90-26-1

The Eagles finished the season No. 1 in 2007, and captured one of their two section titles since 2004.

9. Palma (Salinas) – 214
Overall record: 87-25-4

Palma has not fallen outside of the Top 20 in the past 10 years, and also lays claim to a Division IV section title.

10. Milpitas – 206
Overall record: 77-39-2

Milpitas has won three section championship games, and finished in the Top 25 eight times.

11. San Benito (Hollister) – 186
Overall record: 71-46-2

The Haybalers’ best season came in 2005, when they finished with the No. 7 ranking after winning a section championship.

12. Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) – 177
Overall record: 90-30-1

Despite cracking the Top 25 just five times, the Gators have won three section titles since 2004.

13. Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) – 15
Overall record: 47-59

The Fightin’ Irish have missed the Top 25 just once over the past 10 seasons, and have one section title victory on their record.

14. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) – 150
Overall record: 65-44-3

Mitty has finished in the Top 5 in five straight seasons from 2009-13, but is still looking for its first section title.

15. Seaside – 147
Overall record: 79-38-1

Seaside is the owner of two section championship victories and six Top 25 finishes.

16. Terra Nova (Pacifica) – 125
Overall record: 71-42-1

The Tigers have notched seven Top 25 finishes and one section title victory.

17. Wilcox (Santa Clara) – 122
Overall record: 70-40-5

Wilcox is still searching for its first section title despite recording eight Top 25 finishes since 2004.

18. Carmel – 113
Overall record: 89-24

A perfect season in 2009 assisted the Padres in capturing their lone section championship over the past 10 seasons.

19. Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) – 104
Overall record: 64-50

The Bears lay claim to one section title victory and five Top 25 finishes.

20. Pioneer (San Jose) – 91
Overall record: 70-42-2

Pioneer has finished in the Top 25 seven times since 2004, reaching the No. 6 ranking in 2005.

 

Article by MaxPreps

 

Los Gatos gets a head start on 2014 season

The Los Gatos High football team couldn’t wait. While the rest of the Central Coast Section prepared for a sleepless night ahead of the first official practice date of the 2014 season, the Wildcats lined up just behind the goal post at the south end of Helm Field just before midnight.

Head coach Mark Krail wasn’t about to let a second go to waste … 3 … 2 … 1 … “The fact that we practice the second we’re allowed to come out here speaks volumes of us as a team,” senior quarterback Dru Brown said. “We’re obviously not the most athletic team as a Milpitas or Wilcox, but we’re assignment-perfect and we spend every minute that we can out here to be perfect. It shows on Friday nights.”

And so it went for the next two-and-a-half hours of the crispest practice you will see on a high school campus anywhere in the country. Offensive linemen were hitting, running backs were juking, quarterbacks were launching footballs, with all parties coming together for 11-on-11 work in preparation for the season opener September 6 at home against Archbishop Mitty.

“There’s a difference between the first practice being early in the morning or in the afternoon,” standout senior running back Joey Wood said. “The first time being back under the lights brings a special energy that the daytime sun doesn’t give you.” That energy began to build up even before the players took the field.

“There was a little bit of magic in the team room before we came out – they were playing the song from ‘Friday Night Lights’ – it was really kind of a special moment,” Krail said. “Some tears were shed and some goose bumps were certainly there so it was a pretty neat thing.”

The Thursday midnight practice represented a major milestone in a full week of preparation that has seen the Wildcats camp out together in the basketball gym. Local restaurants have donated meals to the team, whose players have returned the favor by cleaning a few windows and wiping down some handrails in the cozy downtown community. And if the gym has taken on the look of a refugee camp at times, well …

“We all mess around with each other but it’s all in good fun,” Brown said. “In the end, it brings us together.” The cohesion showed on the field as Krail and his strong corps of assistants ran the team through a series of precision-based drills, both on an individual and team level. Execution is clearly a theme for the Wildcat football team.

“We pride ourselves on working hard and being prepared,” Krail said. “First day there’s gonna be some hits and misses, but by and large it looked pretty good. Our assignments were pretty solid at this point. Obviously we have a long way to go but the enthusiasm was there and the energy was great.” The camp ends Saturday night with the team giving thanks to all of its supporters. It’s a tradition that pre-dates Krail, who is entering his second year at Los Gatos, but one in which the coach believes strongly.

“This community is so supportive and these kids really have it good. This is a tradition that has been going on here at Los Gatos for some time and one that I really like,” Krail said. “It’s not so much about Xs and Os but it’s more about bringing the guys together to form that common bond.” Krail came to Los Gatos prior to the 2013 season after a successful run at Santa Clara. Despite losing his first two games at the helm, the Wildcats rallied to win 10 of their last 11 games, including a 31-14 win over St. Francis in the CCS Division II championship.

Gone from that championship team is quarterback Nick Bawden, who is making a strong impression at San Diego State as as a freshman. However, in his place steps Brown, who starred in limited action as a junior, completing 19-of-26 passes for 287 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. “I think I have a pretty good grasp on what’s going on,” said Brown, who is looking to become the latest in long line of successful Los Gatos quarterbacks that includes current Oakland Raiders backup Trent Edwards.

While the Wildcats figure to be strong through the air, with Brown tossing the ball to the likes of senior wide receivers Matt Wilcox and Nick Occhipinti, opponents will have to make stopping Wood the number one priority. Wood, who has already rushed for nearly 3,000 yards in just under two seasons on the varsity, is a bruising 5-10, 220-pound senior who went for 1,964 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2013. For Wood, the experience at the week-long camp leading into the first official practice of the season is about much more than football. Just don’t tell that to the legions of fellow running backs he pounded into submission in a healthy king-of-the-hill type hitting drill just over a half hour into the new season.

Included among the festivities was a lift-a-thon to raise money for the program, a comedy skit in which the players got free reign to mock their coaches, and the typical hi-jinks associated with high school boys featuring a variety of projectiles. “It was definitely a lot of fun,” said Wood, noting as an exception a brutal conditioning workout Thursday morning that “almost” induced a case of the heaves. “We were basically hanging out, having dinner together. We had four, five or six good skits – it’s the one time all year where it’s no harm, no foul you can make fun of the coaches. There’s nothing funnier in the world because everybody can relate to it.”

Article by Prep2Prep