Prep football roundup: Rancho Cotate's pick-six seals victory

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Rancho Cotate turned in a fantastic football finish on the road Friday night as Cougars safety Tai Peleti intercepted a Pleasant Valley pass with 20 seconds to play and raced for a 65-yard touchdown to give the Cougars a 17-10 nonleague game victory.

“Tai read the pass and attacked the route and stepped in front of the receiver. He caught it in stride,” Rancho Cotate coach Gehrig Hotaling said. “It was unbelievable. I thought the game was going into overtime. If you are a football purist, this was a great football game.”

The road game was the farthest the Cougars (3-1) have traveled in terms of miles since 2003 and it ended in sweet fashion.

“It was controlled mayhem on the sideline,” Gehrig said of his team’s reaction during Peleti’s pick-six. “Our defense saved us tonight.”

The Cougars stuffed the Vikings (2-2) on fourth-and-goal from the Rancho Cotate 3-yard line right before the end of the first half, a crucial momentum swing in favor of the Cougars.

Rasheed Rankin scored the other Cougar touchdown, a 5-yard run in the third quarter.


In a nonleague game, the visiting Pumas (2-2) pulled out a tight affair against the Panthers (0-5), who are still searching for their first win.

“I’m happy with all three phases of our game tonight. We just have to eliminate these penalties (which stalled several promising Pumas drives),” Maria Carrillo coach Jay Higgins said. “Our team was very resilient. We maintained our intensity the whole game.”

Maria Carrillo led 17-14 late in the fourth quarter when Santa Rosa had one last chance on offense but fumbled the ball away on its own 10-yard line with 2:30 to play.

“Our defense played well early, but then Maria’s offense started moving the ball on the sweep,” Santa Rosa coach Russell Ponce said. “Our offense played well, but Carrillo’s defense toughened up at the right times.”

Maria Carrillo took a 17-7 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Brodi Harris to Zach Smith. The Pumas defense did the rest of the heavy lifting to hold the lead for the win.

“I’m pleased with our defense. We were assignment-sharp and had great pursuit,” Higgins said. “I was happy with our tackling and our special teams.”


The visiting Jaguars (4-1) took care of the Vikings (0-5) in a nonleague game in efficient fashion, shutting down Montgomery on offense.

“We kept Montgomery out of the end zone,” Windsor coach Brad Stibi said. “Montgomery didn’t run the ball on us very well. Our defense was a bend-but-don’t-break defense.”

Offensively, Windsor lead 10-0 at halftime but found a different gear in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points to ice the game.

“Montgomery brought a lot of pressure and they blitzed a lot,” Stibi said. “We found our way late in the game (offensively). We were able to clarify our run game.”

Windsor kicker Otis Cain had a stellar night, connecting on field goals of 42 and 45 yards.

“Otis had an outstanding night,” Stibi said. “He has a monster leg.”

Lorenzo Leon had 160 yards rushing for Windsor.


The visiting Greyhounds (0-5) continue to struggle offensively and succumbed to the Bulldogs (3-1).

Healdsburg got its one touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 52-yard pass from Cole Conley to Jacob Preciado. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome several long passing touchdowns by the Bulldogs.

“San Rafael beat us on two blown assignments on passes,” Healdsburg coach Shaun Montecino said.

Healdsburg cornerback Jose Nunez had two interceptions.

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