Prep Football: Balers maul Cougars

Matthew Olivier (42) tries to bring down a Baler during Christopher's game against San Benito Oct. 23 at Christopher High.

GILROY—Until Friday night’s game, the last time the San Benito and Christopher football teams had played each other was in 2012. The Cougars probably wouldn’t mind if it was another three years—at a minimum—before they played the Haybalers again. San Benito mauled its third straight league opponent, 50-7.
“We’re playing well, and we feel like we’ve got something good going,” said Balers cornerback Isaac Regalado, who had two interceptions. “Winning three straight definitely gives us a confidence booster heading into the Palma game (on Nov. 6).”
Three years ago, San Benito (6-2 overall, 3-1 MBL Gabilan) ran roughshod over both Gilroy and Christopher in back-to-back weeks. The Balers drubbed Gilroy 70-0 in the last edition of the storied Prune Bowl before dismantling Christopher, 62-14. The teams’ latest game was every bit as one-sided, if not more.
A running clock was used in the second half, and in what could only be described as surreal, 25 seconds had run off the clock before the Balers even snapped the ball on the first play of the fourth quarter. This one was over early.
On the opening possession of the game, Tyler Biersdorff blocked a Christopher (2-5, 1-3) punt that Tanner Okerson recovered at the Cougars 21-yard line. Two plays later, Kyle Cameron took a toss and found a huge lane down the right side for a 14-yard touchdown to put San Benito up 7-0 with 9 minutes, 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
Things only got worse for the Cougars on the next series, with their punter unable to handle a tricky snap in his own end zone before falling down to give the Balers a safety and two points for a 9-0 lead. San Benito took the ensuing possession 51 yards on just three plays, capped by Hunter Nye’s 26-yard TD run.
Nye and Cameron had identical stats: 96 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns each to lead a rushing attack that went off for 368 yards. The Cougars, meanwhile, were grounded in their effort to run the ball, finishing with negative-12 yards rushing. Christopher did have a decent game passing, as Matt Adamkiewicz was 14 of 28 for 185 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Although the Cougars were coming off a nice 37-14 win over crosstown rival Gilroy, Adamkiewicz knew the team from Hollister was a huge step up in competition.
“We knew San Benito was a tough squad,” he said. “They bring it every game, and that’s something we need to do. We need more intensity, and we have to do a better job of not getting down on ourselves when things don’t go our way. We’ll come to practice Monday looking to change some things and get better.”
Christopher’s special-teams play—particularly its punting unit—could use some major improvement. After having its first punt attempt blocked and its second leading to a safety, Christopher’s next three punts went for 16, 15 and 19 yards, respectively.
Because the Cougars were having major issues blocking on their punt attempts, they had Adamkiewicz punt the ball on their third attempt, a quick kick that only went 16 yards but at least delivered them from trouble. Adamkiewicz had a nice connection with receivers P.J. Reichert (seven catches, 88 yards) and Xander Bowers (five receptions, 82 yards).
Christopher’s lone score came midway through the fourth quarter, when Adamkiewicz hit Reichert on a slant route for a 9-yard TD. R.J. Clark had a 61-yard TD run and a 16-yard TD pass for the Balers, who received yet another outstanding performance from their defense.
In the last three games, San Benito has outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 158-19. Against Christopher, Michael Camacho had two sacks and Biersdorff had a team-high four tackles. Regalado now has four interceptions on the season.
“I just eyed the quarterback both times before making a break on the ball,” he said. “The key for us right now is we’re not allowing big plays because we’re playing together as a team. That’s made all the difference.”

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