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August 14, 2022

Los Gatos High’s defense, pass game throttles Santa Clara

It wasn’t a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but the Los Gatos High football team will gladly learn and move on from its 35-0 win over host Santa Clara High on Oct. 1. The Wildcats, who improved to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in league play, have a bye week before taking on Palo Alto on Oct. 15. 

Los Gatos coach Mark Krail praised the team’s defense as it completely shut down Santa Clara to the tune of 55 yards of total offense. However, the offense was out of sorts throughout which clearly was a frustration point. 

“Our message all week to the players was, ‘Hey, you only get 10 games,’” Krail said. “You have to embrace that and be prepared. Santa Clara did some things that created problems for us, obviously. They seemed to have some run through lanes (to get to our quarterback and running backs), so we have to look at the film and clean that up right away.”

Few teams that win 35-0 have reason to be a little disappointed afterward, but Los Gatos has high standards and knows it could’ve played better. Krail was calm in his postgame speech to the team afterward. 

“We vowed as a team to get better, and that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “It’s onto the next one after we try to figure out what went south tonight. But we also can’t lose sight that it’s a 35-0 win, so that was good.”

Sophomore Jaylen Thomas returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown to help key the defense, which also saw Bennett Grado finish with eight quarterback hurries and six tackles. Luchi Casale, Lucas White and Kevin Rogers had six tackles each. Casale and Jake Saul combined for 10 quarterback hurries. 

Santa Clara only reached the Los Gatos red zone one time, a testament to the Wildcats’ defensive dominance. 

“Our defense has played well all year and were super tonight,” Krail said. “Guys were flying around and it’s been pretty evident from our sideline that we run around pretty fast on defense, and we’ve done that for six weeks. That’s good because on nights like this when our offense isn’t necessarily clicking in rhythm, you know your defense is going to get stops and the ball back. There’s a lot of comfort in that for an offensive play caller knowing we don’t have to score every time we have the ball. The defense has been a real backbone all year.”

Despite some botched snap and handoff exchanges, occasional miscommunication and missed blocking assignments, the Los Gatos offense still managed to put up 428 yards, with 344 coming through the air. Jake Boyd completed 13 of 22 passes for 332 yards, including TD throws of 60, 8, 16 and 79 yards. 

On the team’s first snap from scrimmage, Boyd hit Alejandro Quijada in-stride down the right sideline for an 85-yard score. Yuma Raux-Moriwaki had three receptions for 98 yards, including the 79-yard TD. 

Quijada also had a 56-yard reception that set up the team’s second score, Boyd’s 8-yard pass to Raux-Moriwaki. Ten of Boyd’s 13 completions went for 10 yards or more, showcasing the Wildcats’ big-play ability. Thomas’ interception came on the final play of the second quarter and gave Los Gatos a 28-0 lead at halftime.

“Jaylen and Yuma are very talented, and our quarterback is as good as we’ve had in a long time,” Krail said. “Morikawi is a very special player and Jaylen had some big plays tonight and his future is very bright.”

Los Gatos was limited to 82 yards rushing, far below its season average.

Jake Boyd gets off a pass under duress from a Santa Clara linemen in the Wildcats’ 35-0 win. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]