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Prep football: Rancho Cotate storms past Maria Carrillo

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A dominant first half from the Rancho Cotate High School football team led the Cougars to their second straight league win Friday night in Rohnert Park, a 55-21 defeat of Maria Carrillo.

“We just wanted to come in and play hard. There’s three crucial areas we’re trying to clean up and we didn’t do too great at that tonight. But everything else went awesome,” Rancho head coach Gehrig Hotaling said.

“Extra points, we’re trying for 100%, and we missed one but there was improvement because usually we only hit about 50%. No turnovers, we had one for a touchdown, and unsportsmanlike penalties we just really want to try to clean that up,” Hotaling added.

Rancho (5-3 overall, 2-1 North Bay League-Oak Division) has found much of its success behind talented running back Rasheed Rankin, who entered Friday’s game the league’s top rusher, averaging more than 120 yards rushing per game.

Carrillo (4-4 overall, 1-2 NBL-Oak) came into the game looking for another league win. After a close loss to Ukiah, the Pumas bounced back with a 54-16 win over Analy last week.

But the Cougars stifled Carrillo’s hopes for their second straight league win as they looked dominant on both offense and defense, and took control of the game in the first half, outscoring the Pumas 27-7

On the Cougars’ first possession, Rankin immediately found some room to run, earning a first down on his first carry. On the following play, quarterback Jared Stocker threw a screen to Darius Hurst, who took it 30 yards to set the Cougars up on the 5-yard line, where Sumari Jones finished off the drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown.

On the next drive for Carrillo, Rancho’s Brandon Proschold picked off a pass and returned it to the opponent’s goal line, where Jayden Herrera ran it in for another short score, giving Rancho the early 14-0 lead.

To start the second quarter, the Cougars drove down the field thanks to a couple big runs from Rankin and finished off the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run from the senior back.

On the next series for Carrillo, a 57-yard return by the Pumas’ Logan Kraut gave Carrillo its best field position of the game to that point and they took advantage as quarterback Tyler Monaco found Bryan Torres on a 15-yard touchdown pass to shorten Rancho’s lead to 21-7 midway through the second quarter.

In the final minutes of the first half the Cougars took over on offense. Stocker hit Dylan Barrella on a short pass and the receiver took it 58 yards for a touchdown to lead 27-7 at halftime.

Rancho started the second half how they finished the first, finding Barella for a 55-yard pass. Now in enemy territory, the Cougars scored again as Stocker hit Proschold for a 23-yard touchdown.

But the Pumas answered with a quick scoring drive on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Monaco to Torres to shorten Rancho’s lead to 34-13 midway through the third quarter.

Carrillo followed that drive with a big play on defense, forcing a fumble that Logan Koop picked up and retuned 30 yards for a touchdown. That brought the Pumas within two scores, down 34-21.

Another long pass play from Stocker to Barrella put the Cougars immediately on the Pumas’ 14-yard line on the next possession, and Rancho finished the speedy drive off with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Hurst.

On the following series for Carrillo, Proschold snagged his second pick of the game and the Cougars offense took advantage, finding the end zone on an 8-yard rushing touchdown from Rankin.

In the fourth quarter, Rancho was in control and inserted its second-string players, who scored on an 18-yard run from backup quarterback Ryan Hoxsie to seal the 55-21 victory.

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