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Senior quarterback Nick Bawden is expected to lead the offense for the Los Gatos football team this fall. What he isn’t expected to do, however, is chase his running back down the field after handing the ball off to him.
But that’s just what he did last Friday night on the turf at Foothill College, and it’s a good thing he did.
Joey Wood took off on a 45-yard run midway through first quarter in the season opener against Archbishop Mitty, but the junior back fumbled at the end of the play–and surprisingly, Bawden was right there to make the recovery.
It was a key play that kept the drive alive for the Wildcats and led them to their first touchdown of the 2013 season. Gatos went up 7-6 when Wood blasted over from the 1-yard line and Logan Chapman kicked the extra point with 4:58 left in the first quarter, and the Wildcats went in at the half with a 14-12 lead over the powerhouse Monarchs.
It was a lead that would not stand up, however. Mitty scored 16 unanswered points in the second half to claim a 28-14 win, spelling defeat for Mark Krail in his debut as the Los Gatos head coach.
“We moved the ball on them in the first half,” said Krail. “We had two long drives that both finished with scores. But they started the second half with a long drive and got the momentum.”
The Monarchs scored on third first two possessions of the third quarter, and Los Gatos could get only as far as the Mitty 43-yard line in the entire second half.
“We knew that they were going to be a good football team and that it would be good test for us,” said Krail after the game. “We’re going to be alright. We’ll watch some film tomorrow and move on. We’re excited to get play a home game against a good team.”
That good team is Menlo-Atherton, who lost 38-21 to Campolindo last Friday night. The Bears will visit the Cats on Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m.
Bawden will lead the Wildcats into action after putting up some solid numbers in the loss to Mitty. The returning starter completed 14 of 27 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown and also had a 25-yard run in the game.
“He did a real nice job running and throwing,” said Krail of his quarterback.
But offense wasn’t really the problem for the Cats in their opener–it was the defense that just couldn’t contain the bigger, faster Monarchs.
“Our tackling needs to improve,” said Krail. “We need to get more hats on the ball and finish plays. But it was our first game. We’ll clean those things up as we go.”
Senior noseguard Bailey McNally was a bright spot on defense for Los Gatos, leading the Wildcats with 13 tackles. Senior free safety Matt Wilcox also had a big night with nine tackles–including one for a loss–to go with a pass interception. He also batted down a Mitty pass.
“We have a lot of good things to build on,” added Krail. “In the first half we did some nice things.”
But the game didn’t really start out that well for the Cats. They went three plays and a punt on their first possession, and on Mitty’s first play from scrimmage Dakari Monroe took off on an 87-yard touchdown run.
Los Gatos battled back, though. After Dru Brown returned the ensuing kickoff 19 yards to the Gatos 21, Bawden and company went to work.
The Wildcats–behind an offensive front of tackles Brendan Ross and Andrew Hilliard, guards Jack Jarnigan and Dane Huesby and center Grady Duggan–went the 79 yards in 11 plays to take the lead. The big play was the 45-yard run by Wood–and, of course, the fumble recovery by Bawden–but a third-down pass from Bawden to Chapman for nine yards was good for a key first down and Keegan Kreutzer also had a 10-yard reception.
Wood capped the drive in the 1-yard run over the right side for the score and Chapman’s kick put the Cats on top.
Big defensive hits by Wilcox, McNally and Cody Marshall forced Mitty into a third and long a few minutes later, and when Trenton Scharrenberg went back to pass he was slammed by Griffin Jordan as he threw, setting up Corey Olivet for a key interception.
Once again the offense went to work. A 25-yard run by Bawden and a 6-yard scramble by the QB helped the Cats reach their own 43, but they faced a fourth and five and dropped back into punt formation. They faked the kick, though, and Brown tossed to Cole Wisecarver for 23 yards and a first down at the Mitty 34.
A 21-yard screen pass from Bawden to C.J. Butcher on another fourth down play took the Cats to the 12, and three plays later Bawden found Marshall for 11-yards and a score. Chapman’s second kick gave Gatos a 14-6 edge.
That’s how it remained until Monroe took off on a 49-yard TD run with 2:25 left in the half. The Monarchs went for two to tie it, but McNally made the tackle in the backfield to thwart the attempt and allow the Wildcats to take a 14-12 lead in at the half.
Mitty actually had one final threat before intermission after taking over the Gatos 22 after recovering a fumble. But Wilcox intercepted a tipped pass and the Cats were able to take a knee to run out the clock.
The lead didn’t hold up in the second half, though. Mitty scored on its first two possessions and held on for the win.
Bawden led the Gatos offense with his 127 yards passing, spreading his throws out to eight different receivers. Marshall (2 for 32), Wood (1 for 5), Chapman (2 for 19), Nick Occhipinti (2 for 8), Kreutzer (1 for 10), Wilcox (2 for 17), Olivet (3 for 15) and Butcher (1 for 21) all caught Bawden passes and Wisecarver had the one catch for 33 yards from Brown.
Wood led the ground attack with 70 yards on 12 carries, but the Cats were held to just 103 yards rushing. Mitty gained 325 yards on the ground and finished with 342 yards of total offense.
McNally and Wilcox led the Gatos defense, along with Jack Tittle (7 tackles, 1 for a loss), Butcher and Marshall (6 tackles apiece), Nick Stojanovich (4 tackles) and Olivet, Jordan, Myles Morrison, Marshall Mistry and Jarnigan (3 tackles each). Ross, Andrew Masek, Chad Cramer and Wisecarver were also in on key stops.
Wildcats on KCAT TV-15
The Los Gatos Wildcats are already in the spotlight when they play football under the Friday night lights, but now they’re becoming television stars. KCAT TV-15 will air five Los Gatos home games this season, broadcasting them on the Thursday following each Friday night contest. The KCAT broadcast schedule includes:
- Sept. 13 vs. Menlo-Atherton to air on Sept. 19
- Oct. 4 vs. Santa Clara to air on Oct. 10
- Oct. 25 vs. Saratoga to air on Oct. 31
- Nov. 1 vs. Wilcox to air on Nov. 7
- Nov. 15 vs. Milpitas to air on Nov. 21
For broadcast times, visit kcat.org
By Dick Sparrer