The Rancho Cotate Cougars football team entered 2019 with one goal; get past the North Coast Section Playoffs Semifinals. Not only did the Cougars accomplish that goal, they came within one game of being Division 3 State Champions. With this type of success, it’s no surprise to see the names of Cougar players scattered all over the North Bay League-Oak Division First and Second Team list.
Senior Quarterback Jared Stocker was named Co-Offensive Player of the Year and Senior Running Rasheed Rankin was named Co-Back of the year. These two were the driving forces behind the Cougars offense all season long, so it’s expected they would get this recognition.
In total the Cougars had 15 players who made All League this season, which is just insane. It might have been expected because of the history they made, but still, 15 players are incredible. This shows the Cougars program is respected by coaches throughout the North Bay.
There were six members between offense and defense who made First Team All-League.
Wide Receiver Jack Reese, Tight End Dimitri Johnson and Offensive Lineman Orion Piombo were named to the offensive first team. Linebacker Mihalis Santorineos, Defensive Back Brandon Proschold and Linebacker Anthony Scardina were the first team defensive honors.
For those who have followed the team all year, these names sound familiar. These are the players front and center in almost every offensive and defensive play for the Cougars. They are the players who get the most glory after the games are over, while the players on the second team might not have been noticed as often but were just as important.
The second team selection saw another two members of the Cougars’ offensive line selected; Justin Zang and Max Jones joined Piomobo on the team and Scardina was selected again as a tight end. Between Piombo, Zang, Jones and Santorineos, who also played on the offensive line, it’s easy to see what the strength of the Cougars offense was. Just like the offensive trenches, the defensive trenches were also featured. Jones was again selected for his play along the D line, along with Sophomore Gino Mencarini. The last two spots were occupied by defensive backs Dylan Barrera and Darius Hurst.
Having 15 players honored for their play shows just how deep the Cougars roster is and why they had such a successful season. Another thing that stands out is the number of seniors on the list. Johnson, Santorineos, Jones and Mencarini are the only non-seniors on the list. This shows the senior leadership the Cougars had. Having senior leaders who have been through the ringer helped the Cougars overcome every challenge facing them this season.
Though the Cougars’ season didn’t end exactly how they and community members wanted it too, seeing so many players honored at the end of the season is a good consolation prize and a gratifying way to officially finish the year.