Football

Gutsy playcalling pushes Los Gatos to CCS Division I semifinal victory at St. Ignatius: ‘Shoot, we’re going to play to win’

SAN FRANCISCO – Los Gatos coach Mark Krail certainly isn’t averse to going for it on fourth down in certain circumstances.

Los Gatos converted two pivotal fourth-down plays in the second half against host St. Ignatius during the Central Coast Section Division I second-round game Friday. The first produced the eventual game-winning touchdown by Boxer Kopcsak-Yeung in the third quarter; the second was for a key first down as Los Gatos ran out the clock in an eight-minute drive as it beat St. Ignatius 21-17.

“Shoot, we’re going to play to win,” said Krail about the final fourth-down play, a fake punt for a 25-yard pass from Jaylen Thomas to Kopcsak-Yeung from the Los Gatos 32 with 5 minutes, 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter. “I didn’t want to put that much time on our defense to try to keep them out with one score. We thought we might have it; two big players made a play, Jaylen throwing the ball to Boxer. Those guys have been so good all year long, and it was no different tonight.”

Los Gatos' Boxer Kopcsak-Yeung rushes against St. Ignatius' Jake Boyden in the CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)Los Gatos’ Boxer Kopcsak-Yeung rushes against St. Ignatius’ Jake Boyden in the CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

St. Ignatius coach Lenny Vandermade mentioned that play after the game.

“It came down to a possession,” he said. “We’re hoping to get the ball back … they did a great job of keeping possession of the football.

“We just weren’t in sync all game and it cost us in the long run. Hats off to Los Gatos, they did some good stuff.”

After the fake punt for a first down, Kopcsak-Yeung ran for a total of 21 yards and two first downs on four of the next five plays before Los Gatos quarterback AJ Minyard kneeled on the final two plays to end the game.

Los Gatos (10-2), the No. 4 seed in CCS Open/Division I, will face No. 7 Wilcox (8-4) in the Division I championship game next weekend. It will be a rematch of a Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division classic on Oct. 27, which Los Gatos won 24-21.

St. Ignatius' Dash Crispen #5 intercepts a pass a Los Gatos pass in the 3rd quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)St. Ignatius’ Dash Crispen #5 intercepts a pass a Los Gatos pass in the 3rd quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Against St. Ignatius, the first fourth-down play in the second half for Los Gatos was a four-yard touchdown run up the middle by Kopcsak-Yeung to break a 14-14 tie at the 6:31 mark of the third quarter.

“I knew that they were overloading the outside, because they were worried about that sweep, so I was looking for the inside, I saw a little gap,” said Kopcsak-Yeung, who rushed for a game-high 162 yards on 24 carries. “All year long we’ve been a second-half team. We never give up. We fight through adversity.”

St. Ignatius (7-5), the No. 3 seed, answered Los Gatos’ final touchdown with a 53-yard drive. It stalled after two good coverage plays by Los Gatos’ Nate Goldsbury, but St. Ignatius kicker Odhran Kenny nailed a 44-yard field goal with 2:17 left in the third quarter to narrow the score to 21-17.

An interception five plays later by St. Ignatius’ Dash Crispen gave his team the ball on its own 43-yard-line. But the drive stalled on the Los Gatos 35, and St. Ignatius punted into the end zone. It would never have possession of the ball in the game again.

Los Gatos took the opening kickoff of the game 80 yards to score on a winding and weaving 36-yard run by Kopcsak-Yeung. St. Ignatius answered with an 82-yard drive, capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Soren Hummel to Jarious Hogan.

In the second quarter, St. Ignatius had another long drive (80 yards), finishing with a one-yard touchdown run by Hummel with 2:04 left in the half. The score was set up by an 18-yard pass from Hummel to Quinn Folk.

St. Ignatius quarterback Soren Hummel scores on a 1-yard touchdown run for a 14-7 lead over Los Gatos in the 2nd quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)St. Ignatius quarterback Soren Hummel scores on a 1-yard touchdown run for a 14-7 lead over Los Gatos in the 2nd quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

But Los Gatos’ offense revved up and marched 76 yards in less than two minutes. Minyard and Thomas connected on two straight passes, one for 16 yards and the touchdown of 27 yards with 25.6 second to go in the second quarter.

Los Gatos got the ball right back on an interception and 30-yard return by RJ Cannan to the St. Ignatius 16-yard line with 7.6 seconds before the half. Two plays later, a 33-yard field goal attempt  was blocked by St. Ignatius’ Chase Wiley, keeping score tied at 14 entering halftime.

St. Ignatius was 1-1 when it went for fourth down on Friday. Hogan rushed for three yards in a fourth-and-1 situation on the St. Ignatius 29 in the second quarter. But on a fourth-and-five play on its 41 in the opening drive of the second half, Cameron Jones was tackled one yard behind the line of scrimmage by Los Gatos’ Andrew Sandoval.

Thomas caught a game-high five passes for 80 yards. Teammate Nicholas Hobson added three catches for 49 yards.

Jones rushed for a team-high 70 yards on 13 carries for St. Ignatius.

Los Gatos' Boxer Kopcsak-Yeung scores on a 36-yard touchdown run against St. Ignatius in the 1st quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)Los Gatos’ Boxer Kopcsak-Yeung scores on a 36-yard touchdown run against St. Ignatius in the 1st quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Los Gatos' Boxer Kopcsak-Yeung scores on a 36-yard touchdown run against St. Ignatius in the 1st quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)Los Gatos’ Boxer Kopcsak-Yeung scores on a 36-yard touchdown run against St. Ignatius in the 1st quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Los Gatos head coach Mark Krail speaks to his team after they defeated St. Ignatius 21-17 during the CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)Los Gatos head coach Mark Krail speaks to his team after they defeated St. Ignatius 21-17 during the CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
St. Ignatius quarterback Soren Hummel #18 shakes hands with Los Gatos after losing 21-17 in the CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)St. Ignatius quarterback Soren Hummel #18 shakes hands with Los Gatos after losing 21-17 in the CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
St. Ignatius' Cameron Jones #22 rushes against Los Gatos during the CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)St. Ignatius’ Cameron Jones #22 rushes against Los Gatos during the CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
St. Ignatius' Jarious Hogan scores on a 30-yard touchdown reception against Los Gatos, tying the score 7-7 in the 1st quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)St. Ignatius’ Jarious Hogan scores on a 30-yard touchdown reception against Los Gatos, tying the score 7-7 in the 1st quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
St. Ignatius' Jarious Hogan scores on a 30-yard touchdown reception against Los Gatos, tying the score 7-7 in the 1st quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)St. Ignatius’ Jarious Hogan scores on a 30-yard touchdown reception against Los Gatos, tying the score 7-7 in the 1st quarter of their CCS Division I semifinal football game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

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