The Christopher High football team claimed its second victory of the season with a 51-9 battering of visiting Piedmont Hills High on Sept. 1.
The win came a week after a 31-0 victory over North Monterey County. The Cougars put together an impressive offensive performance from start to finish against the Pirates.
This was perhaps best depicted on the Cougars’ second drive of the game, where sophomore Jaxen Robinson strung a pass far down the field into the waiting hands of wide receiver Jaterius Lee. The star receiver met the ball in the center of the field after outpacing two Piedmont Hills defensive backs on a right-side go route before proceeding to waltz into the end zone for a 75-yard score.
“It was amazing to be all nervous and stuff, and then just throw a bomb like that…It was frickin’ perfect,” Robinson said. “We have been practicing that for three weeks now and [to] finally execute it like that, it was amazing…After that, we knew it was just going to be a breeze.”
Robinson’s intuition turned out to be correct. Over the next three quarters, Christopher would put on a clinic, scoring six more touchdowns by six different players. Senior kicker Alan Canales had a busy night, converting all seven of his extra-point attempts while also handling kickoffs.
Everyone got in on the action, as 12 different players either caught a pass or had rushing yards.
The team’s dynamic quarterback combination of Robinson and Damiann Gomez were ultra-efficient and had several big plays. Junior Amari Bluford had a 22-yard TD run down the right sideline and Kingsley Okoronkwo—who also contributed a sack and a tackle for a loss on defense—took a flip pass after going in motion and blew past the Pirates’ secondary along the right seam for a 32-yard TD.
Although it was the skill players who scored the TDs, it wouldn’t have been possible without the consistent and cohesive play of the Cougars’ offensive line. Some of the linemen even got in on the action, such as when junior Aaron Singh pounced on a fumbled ball pried loose from fellow junior Steven Juarez’s hands.
“[It is a] bad run day, but it’s a big block day,” senior Eric Argumedo said, modestly describing his more than respectable 10 carries for 68 yards, which contributed to over a quarter of the Cougars’ total rushing yards on the night.
Plays such as Bluford’s and Okoronknwo’s prompted head coach Darren Yafai to put in second-string players after halftime.
“Tonight, I was pleased our guys put it together,” said Yafai. “And that allowed in the second half a lot of our backups…to get a chance to get in the game and have fun. And that’s the goal, it’s not just about first-string guys getting all the glory.”
One backup who shined in the second half was senior dual-threat Ethan Robledo, who powered his way to 34 yards rushing in five carries. Robledo also produced perhaps the game’s most impressive defensive play when, late in the third quarter, he swooped in and rose up to intercept a Hail Mary pass right on the Cougars’ goal line, before weaving through a field of Pirates for a 30-yard return.
Robledo’s interception was just one of the many defensive highlights for Christopher. The Cougars were dialed in from the first snap. Literally. On Piedmont Hills’ first play from scrimmage, senior lineman Brian Garcia threw down running back Matthew Nirza for a 3-yard loss. That was immediately followed up by a left-side blitz by Argumedo and a near-interception by Gomez on the next play that terminated the Pirates’ first offensive push one yard back from where they began.
Christopher’s tenacious play continued throughout the contest. In the end, the Cougars totaled 397 yards of offense while limiting Piedmont Hills to just 163, including 7-of-17 passing.
The ultimate testament to the Cougar’s stellar defensive performance was the scoreboard. CHS only allowed one touchdown; the other two points came by way of a goal-line mishap resulting in a 2-point safety.
CHS has gained confidence that will be necessary for the competition ahead. The Cougars next play at San Mateo High, who was 8-2 last year before facing off against Leigh High—which always fields a solid program—on Sept. 24.
“So yeah, this was good,” Yafai said. “Yeah, guys stepped up, but it’s gonna be a big challenge next week and the week after.”