|American Canyon crushes Cougars 56-12
Fortunately for Rancho Cotate High School's football team, the stakes on Friday night were not as high as they were when the Cougars lost last year's North Coast Section Div. II title game to Clayton Valley, but the Cougars' 56-12 loss Friday night to American Canyon proved eerily similar.
Against American Canyon, the Cougars again buried themselves early with an avalanche of turnovers, fell behind early and never recovered. The Wolves took advantage of three first quarter turnovers for a 28-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back. Rancho Cotate committed six turnovers, which led to 42 of the Wolves' points.
This matchup was billed as a significant intersectional game because the Wolves last year advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III semifinals while the Cougars were making their run to the NCS final. But this game was as one-sided as it gets.
"Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong...what are you going to do?" Rancho Cotate head coach Ed Conroy said. "We're not as bad as we looked. We would like to have played better, but that's a very good football team we played tonight."
Besides the bevy of turnovers, the Cougars had no answer for American Canyon's overall team speed, particularly running back Jomon Dotson, whose 82-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage set the tone for the night.
"Their speed crept up on us," Conroy said. "One thing we tell the kids is that the film lies and teams are faster in person, and that No. 10 (Dotson) was way faster than our kids anticipated. But we also didn't tackle well."
Dotson battered Rancho Cotate's defense for 193 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He also scored on runs of 34, 29, 2 and 9 yards.
For the first time in school history, Rancho Cotate was so far behind entering the fourth quarter that game went to a running clock. When a team is trailing by 35 points in the fourth quarter, the game goes to a running clock. The Cougars were down, 56-6, heading into the fourth quarter.
After Dotson's first score, the Cougars seemed poised to tie the score on their opening possession as they drove from their 35 to the Wolves' 8. But on third down, Rancho Cotate quarterback Gunner Mefford's pass in the flat was picked off and returned 98 yards by Joey Dodson for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 5:46 remaining.
That play deflated the Cougars, who turned the ball over four more times in the first half.
Moments later, the Wolves, specifically Dotson, was at it again. Dotson darted through the middle of Rancho Cotate's defense for a 34-yard scoring run to give American Canyon a 21-0 lead with 4:20 remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, Josh Belda fumbled and American Canyon recovered on the Cougars' 26. Six plays later, Dotson barreled into the end zone from 2 yards out, upping American Canyon's advantage to 28-0.
Conroy then gave Cooper Nicks a shot at quarterback, but it made little difference. An errant pitch resulted in another fumble which American Canyon recovered on the Cougars' 30. Dotson, seemingly hemmed in by three Cougars defenders, made a nifty cut and beat the defense to the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown and a 35-0 lead with 11:08 remaining in the second quarter.
The Cougars finally got on the scoreboard when Carlos Franco rambled 28 yards for a touchdown with 8:23 remaining in the first half. A bad snap on the extra-point attempt left the score at 35-6.
After American Canyon tacked on 21 more points, Rancho Cotate's final touchdown came late in the game on a 20-yard touchdown run by Michael Ross.