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A euphoric Los Gatos football coach Mark Krail looked up at the Serra scoreboard and right past the final score: Los Gatos 28, Serra 0. He noted the inscription: “Built by brotherhood.”
Krail grinned. “Well, today, we showed our brotherhood,” he said. With that, the second-year Los Gatos coach pumped his fist, his team roared in unison and the Wildcats’ near-perfect day was complete.
A win for the fifth seed in the Central Coast Section Open Division opener wasn’t out of the question. But a four-touchdown victory and shutout against the West Catholic Athletic League champs and defending Open champs didn’t seem plausible.
Two touchdown passes and TD run by impressive senior quarterback Dru Brown and two scores from Joey Wood complemented an absolutely dominant effort by a defense that allowed just 151 yards and forced four turnovers.
Los Gatos (9-2) advanced to second-round play against top-seed Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton, a 37-13 winner over visiting Oak Grove-San Jose (7-4).
“We talked this morning about a true brotherhood,” Krail said. “These guys have known each other since elementary school. I’m very proud of our guys. … I think we proved to the world that Los Gatos belongs in the Open Division.”
It was obvious from the start, especially from the defense, which forced Serra (7-4) to go three-and-out on its first three possessions. Serra’s high-powered running game managed 83 yards on 27 carries and Hunter Bishop hit just 11 of 29 passes for 68 yards with three second-half interceptions.
One by Jake Holton was returned to the Serra 6 and Wood, a 5-foot-10, 225-pound running back, scored on a 1-yard run to make it 28-0 with 6:48 left in the third quarter. “They just beat us up front,” Serra coach Patrick Walsh said. “They didn’t run any different fronts, they just won.”
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By Darren Sabedradsabedra@mercurynews.com POSTED: 11/22/2014 05:29:57 PM PST
SAN MATEO — Serra stepped onto its home field Saturday as the reigning Central Coast Section Open Division champion and fresh from winning a share of the West Catholic Athletic League title.
That didn’t overwhelm Los Gatos one bit.
If the Wildcats had not already proved they can hold their own against teams from the CCS’s top league, they certainly did so Saturday, dominating Serra from start to finish on their way to a 28-0 rout that moves them into the Open Division semifinals next Saturday against Sacred Heart Prep at Independence.
Los Gatos (9-2) scored touchdowns on its first two series, led by three touchdowns at halftime and all but put away the game in the third quarter when Jake Holton’s interception inside the Serra 10 set up Joey Wood’s 1-yard scoring run for a 28-point cushion.
The quick start was the perfect script for Los Gatos, which has beaten St. Francis, Mitty and Serra of the WCAL in its past 12 games. “That certainly was the hopeful plan — that we would get out to an early lead,” Los Gatos coach Mark Krail said. “Fortunately, today we did. My hats off to all three phases. I told the guys, offense, defense, special teams. We knew they were fast and physical. We made some plays early, and our defense never buckled.”
Dru Brown completed passes of 9, 13 and 20 yards on Los Gatos’ first possession and then capped the 59-yard drive with a 1-yard sneak to make it 7-0.
On the Wildcats’ second series, Brown hung in the pocket against heavy pressure and at the last moment swung a screen pass to Joey Wood, who followed a convoy of blockers down the sideline and avoided one last defender to complete a 58-yard touchdown play.
“At this point in the season, our time is running out as seniors,” said Brown, who threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns. “I am just playing for the guy next to me. If I take a hit, it’s part of the game.”
Brown hung in there again later in the half, completing a 30-yard pass to Nick Occhipinti that moved Los Gatos to the 16. Brown’s 5-yard pass to Matt Wilcox moments later stretched the lead to 21-0.
Los Gatos put the rest of the game in the hands of its defense, which never allowed Serra’s fast-pace offense to get in rhythm.
“We’re coming out here as a school that’s never won an Open Division championship, and we’re looking to be the first,” Wood said. “No one better to beat in the first round than the defending Open champions.”
Serra (7-4) finished with 151 yards of total offense and four turnovers.
“They just beat us up front,” Serra coach Patrick Walsh said.
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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.