Football looking to make CCS

November 3, 2008 — by Abhishek Venkataramana and Karthik Annamalai

When Tim Lugo took over as head football coach at the beginning of the school year, his goal for the team was to make CCS playoffs. At the time, many felt that this ambition would be impossible, as the Falcons were entering the tough De Anza Division, a league studded with powerhouse teams such as Los Gatos and Palo Alto. However, depending on the outcomes of the next two games, Lugo’s wish could possibly come true.

“If I had told the guys when I first walked through the door last May that we would still be in playoff contention in weeks nine and 10 and that those two games would determine our season, everyone would have thought I was crazy,” said Lugo.

After beating the Cupertino Pioneers 46-12 at Cupertino on Oct. 30, with a strong running game and stellar defense, the Falcons will have to beat either the 7-1 Milpitas Trojans, or the 3-4 Wilcox Chargers, both talented De Anza Division teams, in order to have a shot at CCS.

“If we beat one of two teams, then we have a chance of making the playoffs, but if we win both games then we are in for sure,” said Lugo.

The Falcons play against the Trojans tonight at 7 p.m. at Milpitas, and against the Chargers at home on Nov. 14.
“These games are going to be the most important games of our season,” said Lugo, “It’s going to be tough but I definitely think we can compete with them.”

The Falcons will have a challenge tonight against the Trojans, currently in first place in the De Anza Division. The Falcon offense, which primarily depends on a strong running game, will be facing off against one of the De Anza Division’s toughest defenses, led by line backer Steve Fauna who averages more than 11 tackles a game. In addition, Trojan quarterback Cameron Hernandez and wide receiver Chris Albright team up to create a lethal passing game, which the Falcons defense must overcome in order to win.

“Milpitas is a phenomenally athletic team that is really big up front and has players recruited by almost every Pac-10 school,” said Lugo. “But we can beat them, by executing our offense the way we have been practicing and by being disciplined on defense. Being athletic, they take a lot of risks, so with our defense we can put them in a bad position.”

So far in the season, the Falcon offense has been led by the running backs, consisting of senior Mat Spencer, fifth in the league in rushing yards, junior Grant Thomas and seniors Tim Yen and Casey Farmer, who are currently seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively in rushing yards. In addition, quarterbacks senior Michael Guercio and junior Vincent Carstens have had success behind a strong offensive line due to standout performances by the team’s receivers. The defense has been led by defensive linemen Jasper Loren, fifth in the league in tackles, and Jens Karren, who averages five sacks a game.

The Wilcox game comes at a crucial time because if the Falcons lose to Milpitas today, winning this game will put them on the bubble to making CCS. But if the Falcons beat Milpitas, winning this game could clinch a playoff spot.

“[Wilcox] already beat Milpitas and they already beat Palo Alto,” said Lugo, “so they are definitely a good football team, but just by looking at their film, I am sure we can compete with them.”

But even if they don’t make the playoffs, the Falcons have accomplished a lot this year, including coming to closest to beating Los Gatos in years. Lugo hopes to build off of this year’s success and continue to grow and strengthen the Saratoga’s football program.

“We’re getting better every week and we are going to keep on continuing to get better,” said Lugo. “I am proud of our guys. They trusted me and they worked hard and it shows on the field.”

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