Road warriors of Los Gatos storm back to beat Liberty

Road warriors of Los Gatos storm back to beat Liberty

After two hours on the team bus, Los Gatos needed a little extra time Friday night to secure a happy ride home. The No. 7 Wildcats scored 31 unanswered points — 24 in the second half — to beat No. 14 Liberty, 38-17.

Through its first two games, Los Gatos can pretty much be summed up as: have team, will travel. And one more thing: will win. Last week, the Wildcats arranged a last-minute contest on the other side of the Santa Cruz mountains and rolled over one of the Sacramento area’s top teams.

“Getting on the bus, we said this is a business trip,” coach Mark Krail said. “To get on the road and take on this Liberty team, that’s pretty good. The second half speaks to our guys.”

Playing its first game of the season, Liberty at first seemed primed to pull off a mild upset.

Nate Bell, the Lions’ electric 5-foot-8 quarterback, led a pair of touchdown drives and set up another field goal while throwing for 205 yards in the first half.

Los Gatos, which forced five turnovers in its win last week, came up empty-handed through two quarters.

But the Lions gave the Wildcats a gift with less than 2 minutes to go in the half, still leading 17-7. Facing fourth down, Liberty called on its punt unit. The snap was low, and punter Tashi Dorje’s knee hit the ground before he booted the ball.

Los Gatos took over at the Liberty 25-yard line and was in the end zone within a few plays, when quarterback Jake Boyd found running back Jaylen Thomas in the flat for the score from eight yards out.

The Lions repeated their special teams mistake on another punt in the second half, setting up a 47-yard touchdown bomb from Boyd to senior Quinn Merritt. The touchdown made it 24-17, and Los Gatos never relinquished the lead.

Wil Dal Porto ensured the defense came up with one takeaway in the second half. Bell attempted to find his running back on a wheel route, but Lucas White tipped the pass and Dal Porto came down with it.

“They’re a well-coached team that doesn’t make mistakes, and we made a few,” Liberty coach Matt Hoefs said. “We couldn’t recover.”

Bell used his legs to elude defenders in the backfield — the Wildcats didn’t record a sack — and completed 19 of his 42 pass attempts for 242 yards, all but 37 coming in the first half. He was also the Lions’ leading rusher, with 64 yards, including a 34-yard scramble that set up their first score.

Boyd completed 10 of 17 passes for 159 yards in his second career start.

The Wildcats have yet to turn the ball over with Boyd under center. Through two games, their turnover ratio is plus-six.

Boyd didn’t throw an incompletion in the second half with the offense buoyed by junior running back Emiliano Mejia. Trailing 17-14 out of halftime, the Wildcats handed the ball off 10 straight times to set up the game-tying field goal.

Mejia went over 100 yards rushing as he helped ice the game in the fourth quarter. Fellow runner Caspian Bailey finished with two touchdowns on the ground.
They’ll take a well-earned seat for the long bus ride back to campus.

“We’ll be jumping and dancing, playing music,” Dal Porto said.

Every trip back to Los Gatos ends the same way: speed bumps.

“Everyone jumps in the front of the bus when we go over the front,” Dal Porto said. “Then everyone jumps in back. It’s honestly super funny.”

Related posts

De Soto vs Ithaca LiveStream How To Watch De Soto vs Ithaca Football

School Sports

High school girls soccer: Deseret News 2022 3A all-state team

School Sports

Christian Academy of Knoxville vs Grace Christian Academy Live Stream How To Watch Christian Academy of Knoxville vs Grace Christian Academy Football

School Sports

Leave a Comment