Prep Football: Cougars claim at least a share of league title

Christopher's Anthony Sammut pushes off the Watsonville defense during their Oct. 10 game.

GILROY—The Christopher football team went home Friday night and checked another item off their list: win the league title.
The Cougars claimed at least a share of the Monterey Bay League-Pacific Division title after beating North Monterey County 36-6 in their home finale.
“They came out to finish a job, to get after it,” Christopher coach Tim Pierleoni said. “One of the goals was to be a league champ and tonight we were able to clinch a part of that. That’s a goal that we’ve been looking forward to all year.”
Adamkiewicz continued making his case for Offensive Player of the Year, going 18 for 31 for 405 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. This marks the fourth time this season the junior QB has thrown for 300-plus yards and the first time he’s broken 400. 
Christopher scored on its first play from scrimmage—a 75-yard touchdown pass from Adamkiewicz to senior Beau Bassian. Bassian hadn’t seen much action this season, but he stole the show on Senior Night. He led the team in receptions with three for 117 yards.
“Those are the real heroes on our team; those are the real stars of our team are the kids that go to practice every day and don’t always get to play,” Pierleoni said. “They work as hard as everybody else and they deserve to get in. We want to get them in as soon as we can, so that’s one of our goals. I think those guys show more character and more intestinal fortitude than the guys that are getting to play all the time. It’s hard to do.”
It looked as if the game would be close when NMC scored on its first possession. The Condors went on an 11-play 75-yard march down field, which ended with their QB, Andrew Ducusin, scrambling left, then right, avoiding a pack of Cougars and finding the endzone in the process. Ducusin’s 11-yard run, but a missed NMC point had the team within one a 7-6.
The momentum was quickly pulled back in Christopher’s favor when Adamkiewicz connected with Anthony Sammut for a 56-yard pass on their first play, setting the team up at NMC’s 6-yard-line. Adamkiewicz found Jacob Moen and the Cougars regained the lead 14-6.
Christopher had possession to start the second and it got all the way down to the Condors’ 14-yard-line before Adamkiewicz was picked-off by Jordan Graves. The visitors had gotten as far as Christopher’s 39-yard-line when Ducusin threw an interception of his own into the hands of Sammut.
Defense wasn’t the only thing Sammut shined at, however. The senior found the endzone twice and had two catches for 67 yards.
With under 20 seconds to play in the half, the Cougars were facing a third and 12 and had just seen a touchdown called back due to a penalty. Cue the Boise play.
Adamkiewicz hit P.J. Reichert for 15—which would’ve been good enough for a first down—but Sammut breezed by on a sweep. He secured the ball and was dashing toward the endzone, taking it 35 yards for the score, before the Condors even realized what happened.
“We practice it (Boise) a lot and it’s a lot of fun to get out there and run a trick play every once in awhile,” Sammut said. “I was nervous. It’s always nerve-wracking when you get the ball, but it’s always fun to get the ball and try for a touchdown.”
Christopher’s kick was no good, but the score put the team up 20-6 at halftime.
Sammut found the endzone again in the fourth quarter when he pulled down an 11-yarder from Adamkiewicz. The junior QB also found Alex Pacheco late in the third quarter for a 26-yard pass. Pacheco easily grabbed the pass and then strolled into the endzone.
“We came into it knowing they were going to play hard. Obviously, they wanted a piece of this league championship and so did we,” CHS quarterback Matt Adamkiewicz said. “I believe in our coaches. All week we worked really hard—really hard. It was a good week of practice.”
NMC had a chance to add some points to the board as the clock fell below the two-minute warning. The Condors capitalized on the Cougars’ penalties and brought the ball all the way down to Christopher’s 4-yard-line. The defense held strong and kept NMC out of the endzone to preserve the final.
Moen had two pass break-ups in addition to nine solo tackles. Victor Sevillano recovered a fumble at the Condors’ 11-yard-line to set his team up with great field position in the third quarter. Moen, Raul Tovar and Xander Bowers all had a sack in the game.
Christopher (8-1 overall, 5-0 in league) will take on Gilroy (3-6 overall, 3-2 in league) at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Garcia-Elder Sports Complex for the fifth annual Severance Bowl.
Pierleoni said the whole season goes out the window when the Severance Bell—which is awarded to game’s winner—is on the line.
“Gilroy is not going to lay down,” Pierleoni said. “They’re going to come out—it’s not going to matter what our record is, what their record is—they’re here to win. They want to win the bell just the same that we want to win the bell. …We’re looking forward to getting together with our brothers from across town and having a really good game.”