Prep football roundup: Rancho Cotate drops opener to Sacramento

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Visiting Rancho Cotate had a tough fourth quarter against host Sacramento on Saturday night that led to a 24-6 Cougars defeat in their season opener. The Cougars surrendered three defensive touchdowns in the quarter to sink their chances for the road victory.

With the score tied 6-6 at halftime, both teams were scoreless in the third quarter but Sacramento (1-0) racked up an 18-0 fourth quarter advantage to win going away.

The three critical turnovers in the fourth quarter that killed the Cougars (0-1) came on a Dragons 60-yard interception return on a pass from Rancho Cotate quarterback Jard Stocker, and fumble recovery returns by Sacramento of 40 and 99 yards for scores. Both fumbles were by Rancho Cotate running back Rasheed Rankin.

“We could not control the football in the second half and that ultimately cost us the game,” Rancho Cotate coach Gehrig Hotaling said. “Our defense played stellar and our special teams played well.”

Rancho Cotate had a much larger roster and more depth than the Dragons. Hotaling said he thought the Cougars could wear down Sacramento, however, the Dragons intentionally took 15 delay-of-game penalties (which is legal) to catch their breath, effectively negating Rancho Cotate’s depth advantage.

“Sacramento was big, fast, strong and athletic. They are a pretty talented team,” Hotaling said. “Their secondary was unreal.”

Hotaling said he was disappointed that Rancho Cotate could not pull off the road win and that the turnover disparity (6 for the Cougars, 0 for the Dragons) was too much for the Cougars to overcome.

“We had our chances,” Hotaling said.

Sir Francis Drake 46, Healdsburg 6

The good news for the visiting Greyhounds (0-1) is their program is back on the field after a pre- mature ending to their 2018 season after two games due to a lack of players. The bad news for Healdsburg is it has a lot of rebuilding to do in the 2019 season as evident in its 40-point loss to the Pirates (1-0) of San Anselmo on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s a new era,” first-year varsity head coach Shaun Montecino said of the Greyhounds program. “We have a lot of work to do but the kids didn’t turn on each other. They took from it (the loss) the understanding on what needs to be done to compete.”

Healdsburg was competitive in the first half, trailing 13-6 after the first quarter and 21-6 at break. However, Drake took command in the second half with 12 points in the third quarter and 13 points in the fourth quarter while shutting out the Greyhounds in the last two quarters.

“Drake is a great team. They are more conditioned than we are,” Montecino said. “Our kids got tired (in the second half). Our players started overheating a bit. Drake ran the ball a lot and we couldn’t wrap them up.”

Montecino said his pre-game message to the team, which includes three returning players from last season, was to compete and relax.

“A lot of our kids were nervous because of our first time back since last season,” Montecino said. “We made a lot of mistakes. We have a very young team.”

Ukiah 13, Terra Linda 7

The visiting Wildcats (1-0) chalked up a tough win against the Trojans (0-1) of Terra Linda, relying on a stingy defense to carry the day.

“Our defense played phenomenal. Our front seven dominated,” Ukiah coach Jonathan Dewey said. “That is the best we have played on defense in several years.”

Ukiah took a 2-0 lead on a safety in the third quarter and added a fourth quarter touchdown on a 15-yard run by Jason Angulo for a 10-0 lead. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Wildcats added a field goal but gave up a 75-yard scoring pass by the Trojans for the 13-7 final score.

The Wildcats struggled to convert points on offense despite moving the ball.

“Our run game was very strong, we just couldn’t finish drives,” Dewey said. “We had 15 penalties and that killed our drives. We had a lot of mental mistakes on offense.”

Clear Lake 28, Ferndale 17

The Cardinals (1-0) defeated the host Wildcats (0-1) on the road by 11 points to begin their season.

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