Football: Team one win away from CCS playoffs after four-win streak

October 30, 2018 — by Siva Sambasivam and Rahul Vadlakonda

After starting the season with a 1-4 record and being plagued with injuries and careless mistakes, the football team (now 5-4 overall and 4-1 in the El Camino Division) has reeled off four straight league wins. Following their bye week, they dismantled Los Altos on both sides of the ball last Friday at home and won 54-27.

The Falcons can seal a CCS bid with a victory tonight at Lynbrook.

This turnaround is impressive considering how poorly Falcons started the season and the fact that more than half the team hadn’t played at the varsity level before this season.

Tack on the fact that Lynbrook is winless and has scored only 27 points all year, and it looks likely that the Falcons can take their win streak to a five games.

“We have been developing really well, and executing our game plan on the field over the past few weeks, and our morale and confidence has been sky-high,” junior wide receiver George Bian said. “If we are able to pull out a win at Lynbrook, we will have a ton of momentum going into CCS, and hopefully we can go really far.”

The team attributes its recent success to two main factors:  getting all their players healthy and the improved execution of the game plan.

“Getting everyone back on the field and healthy, along with some of our other injured players has been a huge boost for us,”  junior wide receiver Tyler Prowse said. “We are able to have more bodies allowing us to stay rested during games.”

Some players are still injured, including junior wide receiver Ryan Gilligan and senior tight end Peter Owens, but players like junior cornerback Chase Cheatem and junior defensive tackle Will Seifert have returned to the field.

With these players back, the Falcons have been able to implement some of their more complicated plays, especially on the defensive side.

Additionally, even most of the healthy players were not at full strength and were getting sore and tired quickly during games, according to quarterback Peyton Stokes. For these players, the bye week helped them feel rejuvenated, which aided in their domination of Los Altos.

The Falcons’ vast improvement on defense since the beginning of the year has also been key during this four-game run, but has also allowed the team to get out to comfortable leads early in games.

The defense was able to come up with four turnovers throughout vs. the Eagles, including three interceptions. As a unit, they were able to effectively get stops, allowing the offense more chances to pile on points.

“We weren’t really executing on defense at the beginning of the year, but now we understand the playbook much better, and our defense is able to make a ton of big plays and get turnovers like they did [against Los Altos],” Prowse said.

As for the offensive side, the team has been firing on all cylinders recently, putting up 55, 48 and 54 points over their last three games.

Stokes has continued to connect with his favorite receiver Bian, who followed up his record-setting four-touchdown performance against Gunn with another terrific game vs. Los Altos, once again breaking his own record, with 10 catches for 209 yards, and five touchdowns.

Stokes thinks Bian’s work ethic and ability to make quick in-game adjustments based on coverage have allowed him to set these records.

“Not only does George work out a lot and work super hard, but our chemistry together is amazing,” Stokes said. “If I notice something about the defense, I tell him what I want him to change and where I want him to be, and he is always there on the next play.”

Because of some of the eye-popping numbers that the offense has put up during this winning streak, players are as confident as ever in their team's ability to put points on the board.

“We know that every time we get the ball, we are going to score,” joked Stokes. “So all we need is our defense to get a couple stops and we are going to win.”

Stokes believes that the team’s improvement can help them in CCS.

“If we keep executing the way we are on offense recently, and keep following the game plan, we can definitely beat some of those teams we lost to earlier in the year, and hopefully win CCS,” he said.

Despite recent success, some players think that they need to tighten up their play to be able to continue winning when the difficulty of opposition ramps up in the playoffs

For one, penalties have been a problem  lately, especially ones that occur after plays on the field. For example, junior defensive end Tyler Ouchida was ejected from the Los Altos game, and suspended for tonight’s game because of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for trash talking.

Players said these kinds of penalties need to stop if they are to have success in CCS.

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