Los Gatos High senior Wil Brennan had touchdown receptions of 73 and 74 yards in the Wildcats' 28-7 win over Wilcox High on Oct. 21, which clinched the SCVAL De Anza Division championship. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.

Halfway through the third quarter, the Los Gatos High football team was holding a steady seven-point lead over Wilcox High in their Santa Clara Valley/Peninsula Athletic League game on Oct. 21. 

But over the next three minutes, Wildcats receiver Wil Brennan scored two touchdowns to secure a surprisingly easy 28-7 victory over their previously undefeated rival, crowning them as the SCVAL/PAL De Anza Division champion. 

In a flash, Brennan—who finished with 196 receiving yards—had TD touchdown receptions of 74 and 73 yards. These two catches alone surpassed all of Wilcox’s receiving yards on the night.

“It was a stop and go [route], he was pressing me, he was up right on me,” Brennan said. “I knew if I could beat him with speed, I could beat him, and my quarterback Jake Boyd threw me a perfect ball.”

Speed has been a staple of Brennan’s game, who is coming off a terrific track and field season last spring when he qualified for the CIF State Championships in the 400 meter run and 4×400 relay. 

His work on the track has allowed him to create wide gaps of separation from his defenders all season, resulting in an average of 24.8 yards per catch. Brennan’s conditioning from track would come in handy just minutes after his first TD, when he caught a short lob pass, then proceeded to sprint halfway down the field to nail in the final score of the game.

“[Running track] factors in a lot. That’s where I get the speed. I train on the track, so it really pays off out here,” Brennan said.

Brennan added about the win: “Man, it feels really good…Every year, we know it’s going to be a battle, it’s going to be a dogfight, and you know, it feels so good to come away with the dub.”

A wide receiver’s speed is only as effective as a quarterback’s passing ability, and for Los Gatos, Boyd was on point. In fact, though Los Gatos’ first two touchdowns were rushes, Boyd’s downfield passes—a 42-yard throw to Brennan and a 30-yarder to senior Jaylen Thomas, each of which placed the ball inside the 5-yard line—were what set up the scores.

Boyd completed 5 of 8 passes for 182 yards and just as important, had no interceptions or fumbles lost. 

He also had a 2-yard rushing TD in the second quarter to give the Wildcats the lead for good at 14-7. Wilcox was effective in holding Los Gatos’ normally potent run game to 54 yards on 27 carries. 

However, senior running back Emiliano Meija continued to ram his way to vital yards, averaging just under 4.1 yards per carry. Mejia’s 3-yard scoring run in the first quarter extended his TD streak to four games. 

“Their defense is really sound, they pride themselves on stopping our run game. So we know to beat them, we’ve gotta be able to throw the ball,” coach Mark Krail said. “By in large, he [Boyd] had time to throw…We had some one-on-one coverages and our guys just made plays. It was great.”

Preparations for this rivalry matchup were extensive for Los Gatos.

“When you play Wilcox, it’s not just four quarters of football,” Krail said. “This is one we always mark on the calendar and know that it’s going to probably determine a league champion. And so the preparation was pretty intense this week.”

The intensity paid off for the Los Gatos defense, which held the Chargers—who entered the contest averaging 38 points a game—to 31 below their season average. 

Though Wilcox had glimpses of stellar playmaking late in the game, Los Gatos was able to tighten up before points were scored. Henry Masters (14 tackles) halted a promising drive late in the third quarter when he intercepted a stray pass; two plays later, the Wildcats were celebrating their fourth and final TD of the game. 

Wilcox saw its next drive foiled as Ryan Bernat intercepted a pass at the Los Gatos 25-yard line.

“I saw [the quarterback] release the ball, the receiver didn’t get his head around in time,” Bernat said. “I knew he wouldn’t get the ball, it was coming straight to me the whole way, I knew it.”

The Wildcats’ defense finished off Wilcox’s final drive with a forced fumble that was recovered by senior lineman Luchi Casale. Nicolas Ramos had a game-high 16 tackles and two sacks. Bernat vouched for the efficacy of the intense practices leading up to game day, attributing the defense’s success to them.

“Our week of practice was the hardest work we’ve done. We were working our butt off to be good,” Bernat said. “We really just trust one another. Our team fits together so well, there’s no grade division, we’re one.”

Los Gatos travels to Mountain View for its final league game on Oct. 28. Following this, it plays at Menlo-Atherton for a league crossover game to finish off the regular-season.

The Wildcats’ Jaylen Thomas gets some major airtime on a punt return against Wilcox. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.
Nicolas Ramos was a beast for Los Gatos, as the lineman recorded 16 tackles and two sacks. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.
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