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Pittsburg turns back Los Gatos in marquee matchup

Pittsburg turns back Los Gatos in marquee matchup

LOS GATOS — In an interesting matchup between two top public school football teams at opposite ends of the Bay Area, Pittsburg made the long road trip to Los Gatos and went home a 37-27 winner.

“These are the kinds of games we’ve struggled with in years past,” Pittsburg coach Charlie Ramirez said. “To get up like we did today and then to persevere through adversity and hold the lead until the end has been one of the big focuses for me after taking over as head coach of thie program.”

Los Gatos never led, but battled back throughout. Trailing 16-0 late in the first half the Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the final 1:05 of the second quarter to go into the locker room down only 16-14. And then a 2-yard scoring run by Boxer Kobcsak-Yeung (20 carries, 105 yards, two touchdowns) in the fourth quarter brought them within 23-21.

“Our effort was unbelievable,” Los Gatos coach Mark Krail said. “Got down early but we didn’t quit.”

LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Jamar Searcy (28) of Pittsburg evades the tackle of Nate Goldsbury (12) of Los Gatos in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 

The ability of Pitt quarterback Marley Alcantara to connect with Noah Quesada under heavy pressure and in unlikely circumstances was a big factor in Pittsburg’s win. In the first quarter on fourth-and-22 from midfield he intended to punt, but picked up a bad snap and on the dead run somehow completed a 38-yard pass to Quesada for a first down at the 12. 

“Kind of deflating for us,” Krail said. “You think you have them stopped and then your defense has to go back on the field.”

Three plays later Alcantara threw an 8-yard TD pass to Makari Kenion for a 13-0 lead.

Both of Pittsburg’s offensive touchdowns in the second half came on fourth-down passes: first on a 32-yard connection to Quesada, then on a 12-yard pass to JuJu Walls.

“Marley is a big-time playmaker,” Ramirez said. “He has fantastic instincts and fantastic vision. The receiving corps, running backs and offensive line all feed off him.”

Quesada finished with four receptions for 118 yards.

LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Noah Quesada (3) of Pittsburg catches a pass ahead of Leon Sarashki (10) and Scott Garwood (7) of Los Gatos for a touchdown in the third quarter of a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 

“We’ve been together since JV year,” Quesada said of the chemistry between him and Alcantara. “I think of him as my little brother.. We keep working and getting better together.” 

Los Gatos quarterback AJ Minyard completed 15 of 31 passes for 262 yards with two touchdowns, a 17-yarder to Jaylen Thomas and  one of 21 yards to Scott Garwood. He also had two passes intercepted, one that was returned 48 yards for a touchdown by Jadyn Hudson, a decisive play that gave the Pirates a 37-21 lead in the fourth quarter.

“Big-time players make big-time plays, especially in crucial times,” Ramirez said. “Our DBs are doing a fantastic job of coming up with turnovers. A lot of pressure is put on them week to week. You’ve got to play pass coverage with big ;leads.(Los Gatos) does a great job of playing max protection and getting receivers out. Their quarterback has great vision. They were a challenge and we knew that coming in.”

For Los Gatos (3-2) this was its second loss to a formidable out of the section NorCal power. Back on Sept. 8 the Wildcats lost to Grant-Sacramento 22-21.

“I told our guys, every goal we’ve set for our team — win a league championship, win a section championship, get to a NorCal game — those are right on the table for us,” Krail said. “These two games are going to make us better than playing teams we beat handily.”

Pittsburg concluded non-league play 5-0 and will open the Bay Valley Athletic League season hosting Deer Valley on Friday. Los Gatos begins Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division play at home Friday against Sacred Heart Prep.

LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: The Los Gatos football team takes the field after the half in a non-league high school football game against Pittsburg at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Henry Masters (48) of Los Gatos is tackled by Jewelous Walls (1), Emeril Bridges (74), and Charlie Taufa (67) of Pittsburg in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Jamar Searcy (28) of Pittsburg is tackled by Lyndon Bailey (75), Aurelio Valdez (99), and Spencer Burg (18) of Los Gatos in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Jaylen Thomas (3) of Los Gatos celebrates scoring a touchdown right before the end of the first half with Leonardo Cocchiglia (50) of Los Gatos against Pittsburg in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Jewelous Walls (1) of Pittsburg scrambles to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter after catching a pass against Los Gatos in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Los Gatos quarterback AJ Minyard (16) throws the ball while pursued by Jewelous Walls (1) of Pittsburg in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
Jamar Searcy (28) of Pittsburg intercepts a pass intended for Boxer Kopcsak-Yeung (22) of Los Gatos in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Noah Quesada (3) of Pittsburg catches a pass ahead of Leon Sarashki (10) and Scott Garwood (7) of Los Gatos for a touchdown in the third quarter of a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Boxer Kopcsak-Yeung (22) of Los Gatos scrambles for a gain against Pittsburg in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Quarterback Shane Timmons (15) of Los Gatos is tackled for a loss by Etene Pritchard, Jr. (8) of Pittsburg in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: AJ Minyard (16) of Los Gatos scrambles for a gain against Pittsburg in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Pittsburg quarterback Marley Alcantara (12) throws the ball against Los Gatos in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group) 
LOS GATOS, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Jamar Searcy (28) of Pittsburg attempts to evade the tackle of Nate Goldsbury (12) of Los Gatos in a non-league high school football game at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. on September 29, 2023. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Bay Area News Group)