January 24, 2021
link to facebook link to twitter

Cougars’ happy homecoming

  • After out maneuvering defenders for a Stocker reception, Cougar #5 Darius Hurst dove into the endzone past Puma's #21 Zach Smith and #2 Jacob Link. Rancho won the game 55-21. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Paul Matli
October 25, 2019

Outside of Prom Night, Homecoming is the best time of the year for most high school students. Part of that tradition is watching their team play a football game. For the Rancho Cotate Cougars football team, community members and students, it was a happy homecoming. The Cougars wrecked the Maria Carrillo Cougars 55-21 to improve to 5-3 on the season and 2-1 in league play. This was the type of all-around game the teams have been waiting for.

For those who have followed the team, the Cougars thought the strength would be their offense and defense would be a work in progress. The opposite has played out, the defense has been incredible, and the offense hasn’t quite been good enough in some games. Things might have turned around for the offense after the first half against Windsor. 

In the last six quarters the Cougars’ offense has scored 81 points, while giving up 27. The offense turning the corner will be the key for the Cougars the rest of the way. 

Head Coach Gehrig Hotaling was pleased with his team’s performance.

“Everything went great except our three game goals,” Hotaling said. “We understand that stuff can hurt us down the road.”

The three game goals Hotaling was referring to were PATs (extra points), turnovers and penalties.

“Our percentage on PATs went up because of the number of attempts, the turnover for a touchdown was bad and we had a couple of penalties,” Hotaling said. “Outside of that everything went well.”

It’s easy to see why these were the three main goals as the Cougars have struggled at times with all three of them. The extra points have been an adventure all year, the Cougars’ offense have a propensity for turnovers at the most inopportune times and they’ve struggled with penalties off and on. Hotaling understands these are the things they need to clean up to reach their full potential. 

As for the offense, it was really good. The Cougars had 5 rushing touchdowns and 3 passing touchdowns on the night. When the Cougars have balance on offense, they are really good, so seeing this has to be a good sign for fans of the team.

One negative on the night was the injury to Sumari Jones. Jones suffered an injury during the game and Coach Hotaling asked his teammates to keep him in their prayers. His status for Analy is up in the air at the moment. Hopefully, Jones will be able to play as he’s an important cog in the Cougars’ running game.

The other main event was the Homecoming festivities during halftime. The festivities consisted of each class having a parade and then the crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen. Julian Arango was named Homecoming King and Kelley Evart was named the Homecoming Queen.

Usually Saturday at 9 a.m. consists of film breakdown, but in this case Hotaling was willing to give players the day off if they needed it.

“Listen, I know some of you have stuff going on, like SATs and Homecoming,” Hotaling said. “We have film at 9 a.m., but if you can’t make it, just do a makeup.”

Who said athletes can’t enjoy Homecoming as well?

Those who have been in high school understand that Homecoming feels much better when the home football team wins. The Cougars winning in dominate fashion allowed the students to enjoy a great evening. 

Though the Cougars had the opportunity to enjoy Homecoming weekend, it didn’t stop Hotaling from switching the focus towards Analy High School. Looking at Analy’s 0-3 record in the North Bay League and 1-7 record overall, this is a game the Cougars should win, but nothing is guaranteed. This could be seen as a trap game as the Cougars know they wrap up the season against Ukiah the week after. The Wildcats are currently tied with the Cougars in league play so these next two weeks will be important.