Cougars won’t be denied it confidence in 2016

Christopher football team gets ready to hit the field before kickoff of midnight madness.

Christopher went winless in the Gabilan Division a year ago, so it seemed fair to ask Coach Tim Pierleoni if the goal for the season was to get his team qualified for the playoffs.
Pierleoni, however, isn’t content with just getting into the playoffs: He wants to get there as champion of the Gabilan Division.
“Our goal is to win league ever year,” Pierleoni said. “Every year, no matter what league we’re in our goal is to win the league. That’s what we’re going to do again. It would be nice to go to the playoffs; it would be nice to win league. … I know it sounds crazy. They put us there to  for us to win.”
The Cougars won’t have the same look from last year as some of its key players on offense have now graduated.
In their places, however, are kids who have the confidence of Pierleoni and four games in which to gain some momentum as they look to do battle against schools who all field teams larger than their own.
“No matter what in that league, especially us being the smallest public school in that league, it’s going to be a grind for us,” Pierleoni said. “Playing schools twice as big as we are and our kids are going both ways while their kids are platooned. But I’m not going to worry about that (now). We’re worried about Gilroy right now. I don’t want to worry about that other part (right now).”
The Severance Bowl game will be the opening game this year, the first time the two schools will not play at the end or near the end of the season.
Christopher owns a 5-1 record against the crosstown rivals, not having lost since the first meeting in 2010.
Pierleoni said his boys are getting after it in practice, but said he believes it isn’t just because they are going against Gilroy and wants his boys to treat every game like they are facing Gilroy.
“We want to be consistent,” Pierleoni said. “We want to be able to show up, tackle consistently, block. That’s what it’s all going to be about week after week all the way up to when we get into league.”
Pierleoni said he’s not changing his system to account for the younger players and reiterated that his boys are going to do what they do well and what they’ve done well since entering as freshmen.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the coaching working with the athletes we have coming through,”  Pierleoni said. “I have without a doubt the best lower level coaching around.”
He said he would put his freshman and JV coaching staffs against some varsity programs in terms of the quality of instruction and development he gets.
It’s not to say, however, that Christopher is without question marks.
Pierleoni said his boys didn’t get an opportunity to attend a camp this year, so all of the development that the team normally gets while at those camps had to happen starting with the first day in pads.
But the coach said he’s confident in the lineup, having answered depth chart issues since the first day of full padded practice.
Ryan Adamkiewicz will take over the helm from his brother. The younger Adamkiewicz isn’t new to Pierleoni’s system, having jumped into the fire last year when his brother went down with an injury.
Pierleoni said he has confidence in Adamkiewicz’ ability to jump right in and lead the team.
“The time he got last year while his brother was hurt really helped him,” Pierleoni said.
Serving as a counter punch to the passing attack will be a healthy Dylan Olivares.
He got into four games going for 224 yards at 5.3 yards per carry.
“He’s a two year starter coming back,” Pierleoni said. “If you watch the Sobrato game from last year, you saw what kind of a running back he could be.”
And helping to fill out the ranks are a group of juniors who have made the jump to varsity this year and has their coach eyeing a couple of good years with them.
Pierleoni said he sees guys such as Keoni Calimpong, Ethan Crawford, Anthony Gomez and Sam Blawski stepping up in practice and bringing something great to the table.
“Quite a few guys we’re depending on who are young,” Pierleoni said.
Christopher kicks off at Gilroy 7:30 p.m. Friday to open the season. The Cougars will open at home next week against Live Oak.

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