|Cougars give Windsor rude welcome to NBL
RC improves record to 4-0 with 43-9 win
Rancho Cotate High delivered to Windsor High’s football team a rude welcoming to the North Bay League in the form of a 43-9 victory in Windsor on Sept. 21.
The Jaguars – the defending North Coast Section Div. II champions – were expected to provide a stiff challenge for the Cougars. Windsor was moved from the Sonoma County League to the NBL because of its competiveness in football. Rancho Cotate had won its previous three games by an average score of 37-8. And Cougars coach Ed Conroy was convinced Windsor had enough players back from its championship team to be competitive.
“I really thought Windsor would be one of the teams in the hunt for the championship,” Conroy said.
As it stands, the Cougars’ biggest obstacles appear to be another SCL transplant, Petaluma’s Casa Grande and perennial nemesis Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa. Tonight, Rancho Cotate is on the road for a matchup at 1-3 Ukiah. The Wildcats are fresh off a 53-0 loss to Cardinal Newman. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Tonight’s game marks the fourth time in five games the Cougars have been on the road. In a lot of cases, such a schedule would be cause for concern. Conroy, however, didn’t seem all that concerned.
“Wow, I don’t even think we’ve addressed it,” he said. “I mean, those are games we’ve got to play, so we play. It’s just the way the schedule turned out. But the teams we thought would be in the hunt – Casa, Cardinal Newman and Montgomery – we get them at home.”
Being a road warrior is nothing new to the Cougars’ coaching staff. Conroy recalls how the Cougars had to play all of their games on the road in 2007 when the new Cougar Stadium was being built.
The Cougars have not faced a stiff challenge thus far, but Conroy has been impressed with how his team has handled its own business and has rarely played to the level of the opponent.
“We knew we’d be pretty good on the offensive and defensive lines and at linebacker,” Conroy said. “But we’ve changed some of the things we do on offense, and Michael (Courchaine) has done a good job running the offense for us.”
Courchaine has benefitted from stellar protection from his offensive line. He’s been sacked only once this year and has thrown seven touchdowns against only three interceptions.
“When we used to throw the ball, we’d be running for our lives sometimes,” Conroy quipped “But the protection has really helped, and we’ve thrown for more yards than we ever have.”
Courchaine had modest passing numbers against Windsor, completing 4 of 10 passes for 79 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He also rushed six times for 91 yards. Running back Jalon Luque continued his solid season with 135 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. His two touchdown runs of 1 and 23 yards in the first half helped the Cougars to a 17-3 halftime lead. He added a 21-yarder in the second half.
“Jalon is running as well as any back we’ve had here,” Conroy said. “He had some injuries that forced him to miss time last year, but he’s been injury free and has really played well.”
Also scoring for Rancho were Fono Misi (17-yard run), Carlos Soto (57-yard reception) and freshman backup quarterback Gunner Mefferd (8-yard run). Rodrigo Perez also had a field goal of 37 yards.