The Severance Bell, which takes about six men to lift and move,

GILROY — Forget about last year.
Forget about last week.
For Christopher and Gilroy, it all comes down to tonight at the Severance Bowl.
The Mustangs and Cougars will square off in a crosstown battle at 7:30 p.m. tonight and they’ve both got their eyes on the prize — the Severance Bell. It’s the game that players from both sides had earmarked before the season and it’s the game that both unites and divides the citizens of Gilroy all at once.
Both teams are sporting a 5-3 overall record, fighting for a spot in the playoffs and feature offenses that can catch fire at any time. They both have powerful defenses and between them feature the top three tacklers in the league — Christopher’s Jacob Moen and Gilroy’s Isaiah Madorlora and Noe Garcia. On top of all that, this is the first time the Severance Bowl can and will determine the two team’s postseason fate as its the first time they are both in the Monterey Bay Pacific League.
Needless to say, there’s much more on the line this year than the Severance Bell.
Both teams are, however, coming off very different results last week. Gilroy’s four game winning streak was snapped by the undefeated Everett Alvarez as it ruined the Mustangs homecoming by handing them a 64-26 loss. If that wasn’t bad enough, Gilroy’s worst nightmare came true in the third quarter as it saw it’s star running back Brandon Boyd go down with an injured shoulder — the same one that cut his junior season short in Week 3.
The Mustangs were already trying to regroup when they received word early Tuesday that standout sophomore wide receiver — and quarterback David Munoz’s favorite target — Riley Filice-Hollar would also miss this week’s contest with a ruptured spleen. Starting defensive linemen Rene Fregoso is sidelined for two weeks with a sprained ankle and corner Matthew Castillo is also out with a dislocated shoulder.
But even with all that, Gilroy is confident it still has enough depth with Emilio Chambers and David Montes at RB and Jose Salazar, Bubba Lara and Elijah Floyd at wide receiver to walk away with the ‘W’ this week.
“We have (four) starters out so we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to fix that and what we’re going to do,” Gilroy coach Brian Boyd said. “We put a plan in place last night and got things rolling forward. No excuses, we’re going to go out and play our best game of the year.”
Christopher, on the other hand, scored the most points it has all season putting the hurt on Watsonville with a 57-0 shutout on the road. It was a breakout week for running back Trevor Hadnot who picked up 72 yards on six carries with three touchdowns. Senior QB Sterling Montgomery was spot on, going 14 for 20 for 168 yards and two touchdowns in addition to two interceptions. But it was Moen who stole the show, leading his defense with 14 tackles in the game. The Cougars D was able to force and recover three fumbles in the game as well.
Even with Brandon Boyd being questionable for tonight’s game, Christopher isn’t taking any chances. Cougars coach Tim Pierleoni said his team is preparing for having to stop the explosive senior and they are looking forward to the challenge — if they get it, that is.
“They’re excited to play Gilroy and play against a really, really well coached team and an extremely talented young man in their running back,” Cougars coach Tim Pierleoni said. “We’re excited for that challenge and that’s something that the kids are focusing on. For them it’s a challenge and we like those things — we like to be challenged. We’re going to prepare as best we can and play as best we can.”
With each team packing such powerful offensive weapons, both coaches agreed that the game will be decided by the defense. The Moen-led Cougars are hoping to ride their wave of success from last week’s shutout to capture their third Severance Bowl title in as many years. The Mustangs, on the other hand, went back to basics this week making sure that they will be able contain Christopher to the inside to allow Madorlora and Garcia to do their jobs effectively.
“(It comes down to) defense and turnovers,” Pierleoni said. “Their defense is a really, really, really good defense — they’re coached well and they get after people. It has a lot to do with defense, special teams, the whole thing. It’s going to be an emotional game, so that’s going to have a lot to do with it. …I’m excited for the city and I hope the city is excited about it.”
Both schools are expecting a packed house at the Garica-Elder Sports Complex — even more so with the home side bleachers still out of commission. Only one team will walk away a winner, but Brian Boyd said that at the end of the day that doesn’t mean one school is any better than the other.
“It’s a high school football game and there’s going to be a better team on Friday night and then it’s going to end with that — somebody is going to be better,” he said. “We talk about this intertown rivalry and this line going across town and I think it’s more adults drawing this line than the kids. It’s going to be fun, we’re excited.”

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