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The train just keeps on rolling for Los Gatos.
After a 2019 campaign in which Los Gatos won 12 games, captured a Central Coast Section title and obliterated opponents by outscoring them 463-199, the No. 9 team in the Bay Area Football Rankings picked up right where it left off following a brief hiatus.
And it all showed on Friday in a 56-23 Wildcats (3-0) victory over the Mountain View Spartans (2-1), cruising to an early lead of more than 30 points en route to a third straight win to begin the abbreviated 2021 spring campaign.
Through three games, Los Gatos has outscored opponents 146-30, including one shutout and another opponent only scoring seven points.
“Our running game is doing very well right now, and you saw our passing game is doing pretty well, too,” said Los Gatos junior linebacker and tight end Jake Ripp. “On that first play we had that all streak, and a lot of credit to the linemen. And then (Adam) Garwood. He’s a beast. Great runner.”
Right from the opening drive, Los Gatos asserted its will and never looked back.
Its defense forced a three-and-out, and on its first play from scrimmage, Los Gatos immediately took a 7-0 lead, as senior quarterback Alex Grado connected with Quinn Merritt for a 32-yard score in the right side of the end zone.
Not long later, senior running back Adam Garwood provided a crushing drive, carrying the ball three times for 47 yards while topping it off with a 6-yard score to make it a 14-0 ballgame. At that point, Los Gatos had run just four plays and already put 14 points on the scoreboard in the first 2:40 of the contest.
Garwood scored again on a 21-yard run midway through the quarter, followed by junior Jake Ripp’s forced fumble leading to a huge drive from Caspian Bailey, who had three carries for 21 yards on the possession – topping it off with a 1-yard run to extend the lead to 28-0 and effectively put the game out of reach early.
“Great blocking up front with the o-line,” Garwood said. “They really made some big holes for good pass time. We had a lot of time to throw the ball and big holes for the running backs to run through.”
Every time Garwood touched the ball, there was an overwhelming belief he could score.’
Garwood, who came in with seven touchdowns on the year, finished with 148 yards and three scores on 11 carries, with four of his touches going for 20-plus yards, two going for 30-plus yards and another for 46 yards, which was his final touchdown and carry of the evening.
Now, Garwood – with offers from Cal Poly and the University of San Diego – is up to 449 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns this season, which comes after he had 1,260 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior.
“Great blocking up front from the o-line. They make some big holes for me,” Garwood said. “It’s easy to run through when you’ve got some big holes up front.”
Bailey ended the game with 46 rushing yards on six carries, adding another 9-yard touchdown run in the second half. Carson Gardner tallied 32 yards on two touches.
Kyle Pinkman needed just two catches to reach 116 yards, as one went for 32 yards and the other was for 83 yards on a crisp pass from Grado on a touchdown. Merritt’s one catch came on the opening 32-yard score.
Grado completed three passes, and two of those went for touchdowns, as he tallied 147 passing yards.
Los Gatos’ defense also produced a strong showing, allowing three total yards in the first quarter before giving up 23 points and forcing two turnovers. Opponents have scored zero, seven and 23 points, respectively, on the unit.
“I think we were physical defense, flying around, and that’s what we practice all week,” Ripp said. “We didn’t have the best week of practice, but it was definitely physical. We got the running game going.”
“Defensively, we’ve got a great D coordinator,” Garwood said. “His name is coach Clark, Keith Clark. He’s great. Just the way we fly around. I think we’re just fast on defense. We just have a lot of speed and we can get to the ball fast. That’s what makes us good on defense I think.”
While the score was lopsided quick, Mountain View never gave in, though.
The Spartans rallied and outscored Los Gatos 23-21 in the second half, with their defense creating a pair of plays for negative yardage, drawing multiple Los Gatos penalties and getting some chunk plays on the ground.
Mountain View quarterback Jackson Steffen was challenging to take down, as he had 101 rushing yards on five carries, including a 72-yard run that helped set up Mountain View’s first score. Mason Davies finished with 21 carries for 110 yards, adding four runs of 10-plus yards.
Los Gatos aims to stay unbeaten when it travels to No. 18 Wilcox at 7 p.m. Thursday. Mountain View hosts Milpitas at 7 p.m. on April 10.
Link to Photo Gallery
Passing: Trent Steffen: 4-9, 10 yards. Jackson Steffen: 0-1.
Rushing: Mason Davies: 21 carries, 110 yards. Julian Daniels: 9 carries, 23 yards. Trent Steffen: 8 carries, 20 yards, TD.
Receiving: Julian Daniels: 4 catches, 10 yards.
Passing: Alex Grado: 3-7, 147 yards, 2 TD. Carson Dehorn: 4-6, 23 yards.
Rushing: Adam Garwood: 11 carries, 148 yards, 3 TD. Caspian Bailey: 6 carries, 46 yards, 2 TD. Carson Gardner: 2 carries, 32 yards, TD. Alex Grado: 1 carry, 13 yards. Kyle Pinkham: 2 carries, 4 yards. Brady Conlisk: 1 carry, 0 yards. Andrew Rogers: 1 carry, 0 yards. Carson Dehorn: 5 carries, -4 yards.
Receiving: Kyle Pinkham: 2 catches, 116 yards, TD. Quinn Merritt: 1 catch, 32 yards, TD. Alejandro Quijada: 1 catch, 10 yards. Brady Conlisk: 1 catch, -3 yards.
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