The Spartans overpowered the Cougars on Friday night.
Seaside senior quarterback Ronald Saxton threw for 310 yards on 20-of-26 passing, including five touchdowns and junior running back Brian Comabig ran every which way along the turf in Garcia-Elder Sports Complex racking up 222 all-purpose yards as the Spartans overpowered Christopher High 60-13 on a forgettable Friday night in Gilroy.
“It was frustrating because I thought at times we had chances to have some success and we didn’t physically get it done,” CHS head coach Tim Pierleoni said.
Pierleoni told his players afterward that they had probably experienced one of the longest games they will ever have to endure in their careers. He was right – literally.
The contest lasted nearly three hours and a 50-minute third quarter – plus Seaside’s seemingly relentless pursuit – didn’t help matters.
Nonetheless, the youthful Cougars grinded out another game in the vaunted Monterey Bay League, despite losing six players to various injuries.
CHS charted 266 yards of offense, relying more and more on the pass as the game began to slip away. Junior quarterback Brandon Pickens completed 19-of-44 for 214 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The second of the two came with eight seconds remaining in the game. Pickens’ intended receiver on a screen pass tripped mid-pattern and the ball landed in Darwin Aviles’ hands and returned 25 yards for a touchdown.
“I didn’t want to give in, that’s not our thing,” Pierleoni said of the decision to throw the ball. “It kind of backfired on us there, but I would throw it again. It sends the right message to the kids.”
Junior Bryant Cid hauled in eight passes for 95 yards, including a late-third quarter 8-yard touchdown catch. Nic Slater led the Cougars’ here-and-there ground attack, registering 32 yards on eight carries.
The Spartans (6-2 overall, 4-1 MBL), who have had at least a share of six straight Monterey Bay League titles and were last season’s Central Coast Section Division III champions, used their size and quickness to build a 34-7 halftime lead.
The Cougars (2-6 overall, 1-4 MBL) pulled within two scores with 3:39 to go in the second quarter, mounting a six-play, 62-yard drive. Mikey Pirnik punctuated the trip with a hard-nosed 19-yard scamper into the end zone for the Cougars’ first points and a doable deficit of 20-7.
However, Saxton and Comabig nipped the CHS momentum in the bud on the Spartans’ next offensive snap, teaming up for an electric 80-yard screen pass for the score. After a brief five-play CHS drive that resulted in a punt with 1:30 left before the break, Saxton hit paydirt again, this time finding Oscar Dorantes wide open with 15 seconds showing on the clock.
“They played much better than us tonight,” Pierleoni said. “We didn’t play as well as we could have, with out a doubt.”
Nader Elaskary blocked a Cesar Hernandez field goal attempt midway through the third. Slater scooped up the loose ball and raced 53 yards down the sideline to the Spartans’ 22-yard line.
“It hit me right in the elbow,” Elaskary said.
The Cougars couldn’t capitalize on the ideal field position and Slater gave it right back to the Spartans, fumbling on the 5-yard line.
Seaside scored one-play later to go up 41-7. Comabig dashed for a 57-yard tally before Pickens and Cid hooked up for their 8-yard score to bring it to 48-13.
“This game is over and done with. We are ready to move on,” lineman Scott Rathi said. “We are not giving up.”
The Cougars travel to Watsonville to take on the Wildcatz in the MBL finale next Friday at 7:30 p.m.