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November 17, 2018
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Cougars crush Ukiah

  • Rasheed Rankin is plunging into the end zone for a Cougar touchdown during the final game of the regular season against Ukiah who lost the game 62-0. Robert Grant

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
November 2, 2018

The Rancho Cotate Cougars systematically dismantled the Ukiah Wildcats, 62-0, Friday in a home game to decide the second place position in the North Bay League Oak Division. Naturally the position now belongs to the Cougars and what’s more the significant victory granted them the number one seed within the NCS Division two playoff bracket. That’s a great honor and a testament to the team’s fantastic performance this season. “We were awesome tonight. It was an important game, probably the most important game of the season considering all our playoff seating depended upon it,” Cougar head coach, Gehrig Hotaling, said. “The kids played hard. We put ourselves in as good a position as we could ask for and I couldn’t be more proud of them.” Right from the kickoff it was pretty clear that the Cougars had a mission. They came out aggressive and hungry, pushing hard towards Wildcat territory within the first couple minutes of the game. Cougar quarterback, Jared Stocker, noticed a break in the Wildcat coverage and he launched a 38 yard pass up and high into the air. The ball came down fast and into the waiting hands of Cougar wide receiver, Connor Barbato, deep in the end zone. That was the first touchdown of the night but it certainly wasn’t the last. On their next drive the Cougars ran into a spot of trouble. They stared down the barrel of fourth and a lot just past midfield, but they must have been feeling confident because they went for it. Stocker threw a long pass, but Wildcat wide receiver, Joseph Goodwin, intercepted the ball. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Goodwin did so at his own 10 -yard line, which left the Wildcat offense in a rather difficult position. The Cougar defense forced the Wildcats to punt a couple plays later. That’s about the time Barbato went into overdrive. The Cougars started the next push just outside Wildcat territory and Barbato caught a short pass and took off for the end zone...with four Wildcat defenders dangling from his jersey. He dragged them along for a solid 30 yards before the Wildcats managed to bring him down. A couple of plays later, Barbato capitalized on his own gain with a 14-yard catch and a touchdown. “Over the summer everyday Jared and I would go out to the park and practice,” Barbato said. “That play we’d been practicing a lot because that’s one that takes some chemistry between a receiver and his quarterback. We hadn’t really gotten a chance to try it until tonight, but it worked pretty good.” In probably the most demoralizing moment of the game, the Wildcats got possession and began a haphazard push towards the end zone. They threw a pass, but Cougar linebacker, Brandon Proschold, intercepted it. He managed a 34 -yard return and a touchdown just a few seconds game time after the last one. The first half of the game ended with the Cougars holding a 48-point lead. Everything else was pretty much cleanup. Both coaches agreed to trigger the running clock at the start of the third quarter and the game ended about half an hour later. “You win some you lose some. That was a big loss, but yeah, you win some you lose some,” Wildcat head coach, Jonathon Dewey, said. “Rancho is a great program. They do everything right, and sometimes you just lose.” Playoffs begin Friday. Rancho will face off against Casa Grande in Rohnert Park.