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Cougars count on explosive playmakers to spark offense

  • Head coach Ed Conroy talks to his players during Rancho Cotate football practice in Rohnert Park, Friday, August 22, 2014.(Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Though the Rancho Cotate High football team reached the 2013 North Coast Section Division 2 playoffs, it wasn’t a season that longtime coach Ed Conroy is accustomed to, especially one season after an NCS championship appearance.

This season, he’s making no secret that the Cougars will be a contender, and may be the team to beat in the North Bay League.

In an interview with The Press Democrat, Conroy listed numerous offensive players he believes have the ability to score on every play. The key wasn’t who he named, but rather what each could do that impressed him.

Rancho Cotate Football

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“Every kid I named there can score on any play,” he said. “We’re so talented at receiver, running back, quarterback — this might be the most potent offense we’ve ever had. Literally, you can get the ball in those guys’ hands and any single one of them can score on any play. I mean it’s scary.”

The offensive arsenal begins with quarterback Gunner Mefferd and wide receiver Chris Taylor-Yamanoha, with Conroy adding “those two guys truly shined for us” in a recent practice.

Mefferd is the focal point of the offense, coming off a sophomore season during which he passed for 23 touchdowns but also threw 14 interceptions. He says he’s worked on calming himself and reading defenses.

“I’m seeing a lot clearer now. It’s just slowed down a lot more,” Mefferd said. “I’ve been able to see more and be able to do more with it.”

Conroy says Mefferd might be one of the best quarterbacks he’s ever had.

“When you just stand and watch him some games, or when we’re doing 7 on 7 or whatever, it just looks like this kid is unstoppable,” Conroy said. “His understanding of what we’re doing has come so far besides his mechanics.”

And there’s Taylor-Yamanoha, the Cougars’ leading receiver who doubles as a defensive back. It’s his third season on the varsity squad, and he is Mefferd’s top target.


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