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There were a lot of numbers that caught Butch Cattolico’s eye when his Los Gatos team battled Santa Clara last Friday night–Joey Wood’s 130 yards rushing, Bailey McNally’s 13 tackles, Teva Brender’s four receptions.
But the number that stood out more than the rest, at least as far as the Los Gatos football coach was concerned, was the big zero next the Santa Clara name on the stadium’s scoreboard.
"We played the best defense that we’ve played in a while," said Cattolico after his Wildcats blanked Santa Clara 14-0 to move back into a second-place tie in the De Anza Division of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League. "Defensively, the kids really stepped it up."
Cattolico was most impressed with McNally’s performance.
"He played a heckuva game," said Cattolico of his junior noseguard, who had two quarterback sacks among his 13 tackles and also forced a fumble that was recovered by Nico Aimonetti.
In addition to McNally, the coach praised the performance senior defensive back Ty Doughy, who ended the night with nine tackles.
"He just played an outstanding game," said Cattolico of Doughty. "He was all over the field.
But then, the coach was heaping on the praise for the entire defensive unit that held the Bruins scoreless and to 162 yards of total offense.
Senior linebacker Tyler Perkins had a big night with 12 tackles and Jack Tittle and Kyle Kevorkian were in on 10 apiece. Max Herman finished with seven, Brent McCoy and Wood six apiece, Aimonetti five and Zach Wiley four.
But as good as the coach felt his defense played, he was also pleased with his club’s running game as the Cats ran up nearly 200 yards on the ground.
Leading that effort was Wood, who raced for a season high 130 yards on 23 carries.
"He really ran well," said Cattolico of the 5-foot-10, 212-pound sophomore back. "We felt like we had to have someone with a little more explosiveness."
Senior William Le supported with 35 yards on nine carries, Matt Etterman ran three times for 19 yards and Herman picked up 11 yards on three tries.
Kevin Tjon, who moved from his starting guard spot to play center for the injured Dave Fishman, led the effort up front in the offensive line for the Cats.
"He has really been our rock up there," said the coach, who also praised the work of tackles Aimonetti and Alex Randolph and guards Brendan Williams and Jack Jarnigan. He also singled out Brender at tight end and Tittle at fullback for their blocking.
"We really did a nice job of blocking for our tailbacks and pushing the ball up the field," said Cattolico.
Junior quarterback Nick Bawden finished the night hitting on 6 of 12 passes for 93 yards, four of the completions going to Brender for 54 yards.
"He’s somebody who really stepped up and helped us," said the coach of Brender. "He had a real good night."
Logan Chapman caught one pass for 20 yards and Cameron Perry caught one for 15.
Los Gatos sputtered in the first quarter, despite running 18 offensive plays to just five for Santa Clara.
The Wildcats finally got untracked late in the second period when Bawden went to Brender for 27 yards, Wood ran twice for 16 and Chapman pulled in a pass for 20 yards to get the Cats to the Santa Clara 12-yard line. Wood ran three times for the final 12, scoring on an 8-yard run with less than 30 seconds left in the half. Chapman’s kick sent Los Gatos in up 7-0 at intermission.
The Cats moved the down the field for another touchdown in the third quarter. Brender had two catches for 24 yards, Wood ran three times for 20 and Etterman and Le picked up five yards apiece to get Gatos to the SC 6-yard line. Wood ran for five yards, then went the final yard for the score. Chapman’s second kick made it 14-0.
Santa Clara threatened in the fourth quarter, marching to the Gatos 10-yard line. But the Cats stopped the Bruins cold to take over the football with six minutes left. They managed to eat the clock with Wood, Le and Etterman running the football and secured the win.
Article written by Dick Sparrer for the Los Gatos Weekly News