Prep Football: Cougars lose emotional game to Everett Alvarez

Christopher's Raul Tovar tries for a catch in the endzone as Alvarez works fumble the ball during their game Friday.

GILROY — The walk off the field was a quiet one for the Christopher Cougars Friday night. Tears were streaming down the faces of almost every player, but it wasn’t just because of what the scoreboard read.
Christopher — whose motto is ‘One heart, one team, one family’ — was reeling from the loss of one of the coach’s grandparents, who passed away Thursday. The team was playing in his memory in addition to rebounding from its loss last week. But despite leading for almost the entire game the Cougars just couldn’t hold on for the win, falling 26-23 to the undefeated Everett Alvarez Eagles (6-0) at home.
“It’s been very emotional — I honestly don’t know what to say,” Christopher quarterback Sterling Montgomery said as tears streamed down his face. “I’m just disappointed in mostly myself. I can’t get it done for everyone.
“I don’t know what’s running through my head right now — a lot of emotions. I feel pain for ‘Shady’ (Marshad Johnson) losing his grandfather because that’s part of our family, too. It touches me real deep.”
The Cougars (3-3 overall, 0-2 in league) took a 23-12 lead early in the fourth quarter after a big stand from the Eagles’ D stopped them at the 10-yard-line, forcing the team to settle for the field goal. Alvarez answered almost immediately, scoring off its second play from scrimmage — a 93-yard catch and run from quarterback Edric Gamble to Ryan Hocog.
As the clock wound down, it appeared that the Cougars would be the first team to take down the Eagles and gain much needed ground in the Monterey Bay Pacific League. Instead a combination of Christopher penalities and Alvarez time management led to an 11-play, 75-yard march down field by the Eagles which resulted in a Gamble to Diego Vego TD. Alvarez was able to pick up the 2-point conversion for the final score.
“We had it, we were coached up perfectly,” senior running back and Cougars captain Rayshon Mills said with tear stained cheeks. “We knew everything they were going to do but we messed up as a team and let them back in it. …We lost it for ourselves basically. We’re just going to get better this week and forget it — it’s over now. We’ve got next week now.”
The Cougars were the first to draw blood, scoring off a 16-yard pass from Montgomery to Max Sanford with under six to play in the first quarter.
Montgomery hit Raul Tovar III with 11 seconds left in the first and Tyler Fhurong with 4:51 left in the second quarter to give the Cougars all three of their touchdowns.
Montgomery finished 18 for 27 for 193 yards and three TDs in the air. He also had seven carries for 31 yards. But despite his stellar stats, Montgomery couldn’t help but blame himself for the loss.
“It’s hard, everyone looks up to us as captains and leaders,” he said. “We try to come through and we all just wish that everyone had the fire. We’re one team, one heart, one family, but I don’t know it’s just hard with a defeat like that — especially with losing part of the family. “
The Cougars will look to rebound next week when they take a Pajaro Valley (3-4 overall, 0-3 in league) — a team that is in a similar situation having not won in league play — at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home.
“We needed this one, we needed this one a lot to take league and to make it to the playoffs. Something’s just not clicking there mentally, but we’re going to get better,” Mills said. “No one likes to lose, but that’s still my family. I love them to death no matter what — we lost as a team, we win as a team. We’ve just got to get better this week — that’s all we can do, that’s all we got right now.”
No one likes to lose, but that’s still my family. I love them to death no matter what — we lost as a team, we win as a team. We’ve just got to get better this week — that’s all we can do, that’s all we got right now.”

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