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January 17, 2019
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Cougars overcome Pumas

  • Rancho's Alonrdra Catalan, one of two young ladies on the squad, is seen blocking a Maria Carrillo defensive player on a play that gained the Cougars a 1st down. The box score at the end of the night was 56-14. Robert Grant

By: David Reinhart
October 19, 2018

Rancho Cotate added another win to its record Friday, Oct. 12th when they slew the Maria Carrillo Pumas 56-14 in an away game  in Santa Rosa. 

It was the Cougars devastating offensive line that gave them the edge in the end, as it always seems to lately. That, and coupled with a few injuries on the Pumas’ side of the field, there was little Maria Carrillo could do to halt the Cougar offense once it got going. 

“I just like enjoying the wins—everyone is great to come by. We played great the second half and kind of rediscovered ourselves.” Cougar head coach, Gehrig Hotaling, said. “The first half was just a little human nature kicking in.”

The Pumas managed a spirited defense through the first bit of the game. That said, there were cracks, and they showed early. 

Cougar wide receiver, Connor Barbato, had the honor of scoring the first points of the match. He outran the defensive back covering him and found himself a patch of open grass. Cougar quarterback, 

Jared Stocker, noticed him open and chucked a 30 yard pass right into Barbato’s waiting hands. Of course Barbato caught it, and he took off for the goal line like someone had lit a fire. 

That gave the Cougars the lead. Never content with simple victory, the Cougars built on it a few minutes later. 

The Cougar offensive line tore a hole in the Pumas’ defense, and through that hole slipped Cougar running back, Rasheed Rankin. Standing at 6-foot-one and 210 pounds, Rankin is a bit of a powerhouse, and he used every bit of that strength to drive 64-yard up the left side of the field. With the Pumas well behind him, Rankin crossed the line and landed a touchdown—the second of the game. 

Of course that’s not to say that the Pumas didn’t have a response. It came in the final few seconds of the first half at their own 15 yard line. The Pumas’ quarterback, KC Kelly, launched an 89 yard touchdown pass to drag the game back within the Pumas’ reach. 

“It was bad coaching on my part,” Hotaling, said, speaking on his team’s performance during the first half. “I mean, we were good, but it was not up to expectations. We came out flat—human nature kicked in.” 

If the Pumas hoped to catch the Cougars sleeping they were to be sorely disappointed. The Cougars came out of their full of energy in the second half, looking to make up for the complacency they showed in the final few seconds of the first half by letting the Pumas score. 

Barbato had the honor of first touchdown again off a 50-yard pass, but by no means was he the last. Rankin scored next, then Cougar running back, Somari Jones, and then offensive lineman, Elias Rantissi, got in on the action with a 6 yard thrust right up the through the center of the Pumas’ line. 

The Pumas’ had a bit of an answer later in the third quarter, but it wasn’t enough to dent the Cougars’ lead. Fourth quarter triggered the running clock rule, and after that the Cougars win went from a surety into reality. 

“It was a tough game,” Puma head coach, Jay Higgins, said. “It seemed like every time we started making a little bit of headway we’d take two steps forward and one step back. I think we maintained our composure through the adversity and kept playing hard. I’ve seen other teams that when confronted with the same circumstances just cave.” 

This is Maria Carrillo’s third loss in a row, and the road ahead doesn’t look to be getting any easier. They face off next week against Cardinal Newman. 

Rancho Cotate is up next against Analy in Sebastopol on Friday, Oct. 19th.