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On Friday night Tyler Davis was what Christopher High coach Tim Pierleoni described as a “rolling razorblade.” The defense was deadly, as it piled up sacks. But it came down to a kick in the end. With 37 seconds to go, senior placekicker Trevor Robledo converted a 35-yard game winning field goal to give the Cougars a 17-14 win against Monte Vista Christian in Watsonville.

It was the first win in the first game of the new season, and it didn’t come easy. And it won’t get any easier.

“That’s a good football team; they’re well coached,” Pierleoni said. “We made many mistakes. You could call it first game jitters, but I say it’s kids making too many mistakes. We coach too hard to see kids make mistakes like that. We all need to get better.”

Tyler Davis piled up yards, especially in the third quarter. After a long drive that started at the Cougars’ 12-yard line, Davis went to work. He bounced through the outside, burst through the middle, and rattled off rushes of 30, 20, and 15 yards. Ultimately, it paid off with a 6-yard rushing touchdown which gave Christopher a 14-7 lead.

“I just told my linemen, ‘just get in front of them,’” Tyler Davis said. “Every defense has a weakness, and I just try to get in my rhythm and find it. They would bait one way, and I would go another. Look where they’re not.”

The game-winner was Robledo’s first, and it’s something he’s unlikely ever to forget. After the game, though, a few miscues on defense still haunted him.

“I’m a little disappointed in myself because I missed a few times on defense,” Robledo said. “I guess the goal makes up for it. It was special. I just did it for my team and coaches. I was a little shaky at first, but I knew I’d make it at the end.”

On the next possession, Christian Davis, Tyler’s twin brother, was the last man standing between a lead and a tie game. From behind its 20-yard line MVC senior running back Nick Fischer bullied his way through the line, then the Christopher secondary, deflecting defenders. Only a diving Christian Davis prevented a long touchdown. But two Christopher sacks killed what had been a promising drive for the Mustangs.

“I knew we needed to get him,” Christian Davis said. “If he scored, we would have lost our momentum. We just had to force them to pass; they weren’t comfortable passing. You got to hit them hard, make them scared.”

MVC, with its new coach Jubenal Rodriguez, the former head man at Gilroy High School, avenged the missed opportunity midway through the fourth quarter.

After a three-and-out Cougars possession and a short punt, MVC took advantage of a short field. A 5-yard touchdown rush by Nick Fischer was set up by a 15-yard pass from junior quarterback Nathan Renglli to senior running back Daniel Brierley knotted the game at 14-14

Both teams need to shake off the rust in the first half. The season will only get harder for Christopher, especially given their new tougher division. If they’re going to continue to win, Christopher must cut back on penalties and turnovers.  It helps to play good defense.

“The defense did a great job, the coaches coached them up and the kids played really hard,” Pierleoni said. “The defensive line did a great job at overpowering their line. We also brought some pressure on them when we thought they were going to throw. They knew what they needed to do tonight and our defensive coordinator Chris Vanni did an excellent job scheming all week long.”   

Christopher got on the board first following a long drive early in the second quarter. Senior quarterback Ben Sanford connected with Tyler Davis for a 20-yard catch and run, and a few snaps later Sanford dropped a12-yard dime into senior wide receiver Joseph Cupp’s hands for a 7-0 lead.  

Sanford was not as crisp on the next possession. The Cougars looked to be in business following a 15 and 22 yard rushes by Davis. After driving the ball past midfield, Sanford bought time with his feet on a second and 10, but a long pass missed the mark, and MVC senior defensive back Scott Tinsley picked off the pass.  

“We made a lot of mistakes, and I need to do a better job protecting the ball,” Sanford said. “They were a tough team; they stuffed us in a lot of situations. They were talking and really got in our heads I think. It made us a little nervous.”

The ensuing Mustangs drive seemed to stall after Onyx Smith disrupted a pass, then collected a sack. On a long fourth down, junior Nathan Renggli sidestepped a defender and heaved the ball towards the end zone. The desperation pass met with the outstretched hands of senior wide receiver Nick Bautista for a game-tying touchdown after a successful extra point.

Sanford threw his second interception in the half after a misdirected sidearm throw was picked off by MVC senior Jason Bettencourt.

Next week Christopher hosts Live Oak High.

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