Prep Football: Cougars ready to move on after emotional loss to Alvarez

Christopher's Tyler Fhurong scores a touchdown for the Cougars during their game Friday against Alvarez.

GILROY — Christopher’s game against Everett Alvarez may have been its toughest one thus far — not only on the field, but off it as well.
The Cougars lost a heartbreaker to the undefeated Eagles, 26-23, at home on Oct. 18 after leading most of the game. The importance of picking up their first Monterey Bay Pacific League win combined with the passing of a coach’s grandparent proved too much for the Cougars players, many of whom couldn’t hold back their tears after the game.
“It’s been very emotional — I honestly don’t know what to say,” CHS quarterback Sterling Montgomery said after the game. “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 led 23-18 late in the fourth quarter and it looked as if they would be the first ones to take down Alvarez to gain much needed ground in league. But a combination of Christopher penalties and Alvarez time management led to an 11-play, 75-yard march down field and into the endzone for Eagles. They were able to pick up the 2-point conversion to put the final nail in Christopher’s coffin as the Cougars would have no time left to answer.
“They’re (Alavarez) a pretty darn good team, an undefeated team that wasn’t going to go down easily and they had a lot of fight in them,” Christopher Coach Tim Pierleoni said. “There was a couple breakdowns on the sidelines where as coaches we needed to do a better job.”
The tears have since dried and Christopher is ready to get back on the field and correct the mistakes that proved so costly last week. Some physical mistakes and oversights by the coaching staff have been the topics of discussion this week as well making tackles.
“We’ve got to play mistake-free football,” Pierleoni said. “I think we did a good job of that last week, we won the turnover battle for the first time in a long time. We’ve just got to keep playing that way and tackle — tackle, tackle, tackle. I think we missed some opportunities last week to make some plays and some tackles and that hurt us.”
The Cougars (3-3 overall, 0-2 in league) are down, but not out. They are ready to prove they are the team that held such high expectations in the preseason and will look to regroup against Pajaro Valley this week.
The Cougars and Grizzlies find themselves in a similar situation as neither team has won in league play. Pajaro Valley (3-4 overall, 0-3 in league) was crushed by the red hot Gilroy Mustangs 54-14 last week at home, giving up 412 yards of total offense in that game.
Christopher will celebrate homecoming and hopefully a win as it takes on Pajaro Valley at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
“Football teaches you a lot about life,” Pierleoni said. “In life we’re going to struggle; we’re struggling right now a little bit. That’s the gift we’re getting, we’re learning how to struggle and seeing if we can bounce back from it as a team and as a coaching staff and as a school. There’s nothing wrong with that because that’s how life is going to be.”
Christopher’s (3-3 overall, 0-2 league) homecoming celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. at Gilroy High School. The Cougars will take on Pajaro Valley (3-4, 0-3). 
“Football teaches you a lot about life. In life we’re going to struggle; we’re struggling right now a little bit. That’s the gift we’re getting, we’re learning how to struggle and seeing if we can bounce back from it as a team and as a coaching staff and as a school. There’s nothing wrong with that because that’s how life is going to be.”

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