Friday night marked the beginning of the league season for high school football and the opening slate of games included a matchup of the two best teams in the De Anza division. Wilcox and Los Gatos faced off a year ago late in the season for what effectively was the league championship. Wilcox stormed out to a 19-0 lead only to lose 20-19 on a Wildcats touchdown in the final minute.
This time around the game wasn’t as soul crushing for the Chargers, but Wilcox twice pulled within three points after being down double digits. Their final touchdown made the score 21-18 with just under eight minutes to go. Los Gatos would score a touchdown on a third-and-four running play from the Chargers 40-yard line with just under four minutes left. A pick-six interception on the following drive would put the game away. Los Gatos added a late garbage time touchdown to win by a 41-21 final.
“We just got to make a couple more plays, it really just comes down to that,” remarked Wilcox Head Coach Paul Rosa after the game. “Mistakes here or there in close games are going to bite you and that’s what ended up happening. I thought our guys played really hard, but just a couple plays here and there. Three point game with four minutes left, you gotta make a stop.”
Wilcox opened the scoring with three points of their own in this one when first-year kicker Anthan Wingate drilled a 42-yard field goal. Los Gatos then scored the next 14 points and the Chargers looked in trouble of letting this one get away from them early. The Wildcats’ second touchdown of the first half left Wilcox with just 2:27 on the clock before halftime.
Typically a run-heavy offense, it seemed like a tall task for the Chargers to score before halftime but that is exactly what they did. Junior quarterback Armand Johnson found senior receiver Charlie Carlson for a 39-yard catch and run down to the Wildcats 14-yard line with less than half a minute on the clock. Johnson then found star tailback Luther Glenn on a wheel route up the sideline for a miraculous one-handed touchdown grab as a defender was draped all over his other arm. After a successful two-point conversion, the Chargers were back in the game at 14-11.
“Armand just has really good ball placement,” said Carlson on his quarterback. “He fits it into those tight pockets, it’s perfect placement every time he throws it to me.”
Throwing the ball is typically the strength for the Wildcats, but the Wilcox defense actually did an impeccable job against the Los Gatos passing attack. Senior defensive end Pace Nelson nearly had an interception when he knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage on the Wildcats’ first play of the game. He would later add a pair of sacks as he was a wrecking ball all game long.
“I felt like I was just faster and stronger [in my matchup] and felt like I had the advantage,” said Nelson on his ability to rush the passer. “I didn’t play the best in the run game though, I didn’t hold my ground as well as I needed to.”
Wilcox will look to bounce back in week two of the league season when they host Mountain View on Friday, Oct. 1.