Cougars look to bounce back against Gauchos
Rancho takes it on chin against Vikings, 28-3
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By Dave Williams  October 17, 2013 09:25 am

The task for Rancho Cotate High’s football team tonight is, in the words of the late Eazy-E from legendary rap group NWA, easier said than done. They must stop Casa Grande’s all-everything quarterback JuJuan Lawson.

Lawson has proved just as effective running the ball as well as throwing it this season, as he has led the Gauchos to a 6-0 overall record (3-0 in the North Bay League) and has them at No. 3 in the Northern California Div. II state bowl rankings, according to Cal-Hi Sports.

Lawson has completed 67 percent of his passes for 966 yards with eight touchdowns against only one interception. Also, he is the Gaucho’s second-leading rusher with 469 yards, averaging 9 yards per carry. His primary targets are Miles Gardea and Zakk Molina, who have 17 and 14 catches, respectively. But he spreads the ball around to a number of receivers. Five other receivers have seven catches or more. When the Gauchos go to their ground game, John Porchivina carries the load. He has rushed for 657 yards and averages 8.76 yards per carry.

Last year, the Cougars hammered the Gauchos 28-7 in Casa Grande’s first season in the NBL. Tonight’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Casa Grande High in Petaluma.

The Cougars on Oct. 11 lost to a vastly improved Montgomery squad 28-3 last Friday in Santa Rosa, marking their first NBL loss since falling to Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa 28-7 on Oct. 28, 2011. The Cougars now stand at 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the NBL. They are locked in a four-way tie for second place with Newman, Maria Carrillo and Montgomery.

Needless to say, this is an important game for the Cougars who are in the midst of a rough patch in the schedule. After tonight’s game at Casa Grande, they host Maria Carrillo and then travel to Santa Rosa to face Newman. Still, the Cougars are in the enviable position of controlling their destiny. Should they win out, they’ll claim at least a share of the NBL title.

To do so, however, they’ll have to play much better than they did against the Vikings.

After Carlos Franco returned the opening kickoff deep into Montgomery territory to set up a field goal by Kevin Nguyen, the Cougars’ offense was unable to put anything together.

The Vikings took control of the game with 21 points in the second quarter.

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