A fast start slingshots Christopher to semifinals

Christopher’s 30-point first quarter helped pave the way to an easy win over Cupertino.

Everything went right for the Cougars from the initial whistle. A 60-yard opening drive to take a 7-0 lead, two blocked punts that resulted in 9 points, and two interceptions by Ethan Crawford to lead Christopher to a 51-7 win in the CCS Division IV playoffs.

“I thought we were going to come in and have a really good game on our hands, but ended up doing everything right in the first half and led to a great victory,” quarterback Ben Sanford said.

Before his two interceptions, Crawford opened the scoring with a 13-yard run on his only carry of the game.

“I’m extremely happy with the way our kids played,” Christopher coach Tim Pierleoni said. “They played an almost perfect first half.”

The Cougars took advantage of the Pioneers’ turn overs to extend their lead. Tyler Davis had 53 and 57-yard touchdown runs on the possessions following the interceptions. The second gave Christopher a 37-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.

“Having backs like that is awesome (because) I know that we don’t always have to rely on throwing the ball,” Sanford said. “It’s a relief definitely.”

Davis finished with 114 rushing yards. All in the first half.

“I felt sorry for Cupertino,” Pierleoni said. “It seemed like everything was going wrong for them. Every break we got and every penalty was on them. It was a tough game for them and an extremely good night for us.”

The Cougars kept pilling on in the second quarter.

Sanford connected with Joseph Cupp for a 10-yard pass to finish a 33-yard drive. Toward the end of the quarter Joey Bassian scored the Cougars’ last touchdown on a 10-yard run to finish Christopher’s longest drive of the night of 69 yards.

Bassian racked up 101 yards in five carries in the first half. He did not have carries in the last two quarters.

The Cougars had 297 rushing yards going into halftime.

“It really builds our confidence going into the next week and it’s going to catapult us going forward,” Crawford said.

Sanford threw for 78 yards on five completions. He had three incompletions and was sacked once before he was replaced by Conner O’Callaghan late in the second quarter.

“We have a lot of great talented receivers and I know whenever I put the ball up they’re going to come down with it,” Sanford said.

Christopher’s defense allowed 41 total rushing yards and 58 yards on the air.

“Our offensive and defensive lines played fabulous today,” Pierleoni said. “That’s where the games are won or lost and we’ve been lucky that our offensive and defensive lines have played so well.”

The Cougars will host Alisal in the second round on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Christopher lost to the Trojans 28-21 in Gilroy on Oct. 13.

“We’re going to have our hands full, but we are extremely excited to have a chance to play them again,” Pierleoni said.

Sanford said the key to getting a better result against Alisal is stopping their run game.

By Noe Magana

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