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Cougars give coach first varsity win Phillip Brents | Tue, Sep 28 2010 02:16 AM

It took three tries but the third time proved to be the charm as the San Ysidro Cougars finally handed new head coach Greg Davis his first varsity win at the helm after holding off visiting El Cajon Valley by a 26-20 score last Friday afternoon.

“We came out with a focus and a goal,” Davis said. “All week we told our players that if we limited the big plays and everyone did their job — no more and no less — that we had a shot at winning the game. We are a young program. Our athletes just need to learn how to win. I believe that they have the ability, now it becomes a matter of getting the mental part of the game caught up to the physical ability.”

Quarterback David Vega was the catalyst of the victory over the Braves by completing 18 of 32 passing attempts for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Vega also rushed 16 times for 43 yards, including one score.

Danniel Cruz scored twice to lead the Cougars — once on a pass and once on a punt return. Sammy Quinones, who had four catches for 50 yards, also caught one scoring pass.
Cruz totaled four catches for 46 yards and also had two interceptions on defense, including the game-winning touchdown.

“He had to be the player of the game,” Davis said in regard to Cruz.

There were more heroes. Chandler Tarrant had seven catches for 69 yards while Ivan Vergara rushed five times for 12 yards, caught two passes for 23 yards and also made a fumble recovery.

Pablo Jimenez (16 tackles) and Fidel Gonzalez (14 tackles) led the San Ysidro defense, which also recorded two sacks and two fumble recoveries. Gonzalez had one sack while teammate Filipe Rodriguez had the other. Omar Rios also recovered a fumble.

“Our defense played amazing,” Davis said. “They picked up the offense when the offense was sputtering. Coach Pugh (defensive coordinator Gary Pugh) does a great job with getting our kids ready on the defensive side of the ball. Omar Rios really stepped up in huge situations, anchoring the defensive line when we really needed them the most.”

The Cougars led 14-0 at halftime but found themselves embroiled in a 14-14 standoff through three quarters. The hosts racked up a 12-6 scoring advantage in the final quarter to keep the visitors winless on the season.

“Losing the lead early in the fourth quarter, our football team could have gone one of two ways,” Davis said. “They could have gone down the easy road — the one where they just give up — but they decided to take the more challenging road: the one where they battle until the end.

“The thing that I love the most about our young men is their ability to never give up. When we lost the lead I gave them the speech that I always give them — that good teams know how to bounce back from adversity. That is exactly what they did.

“I could not have been more proud and excited for our football program. It goes to show that when you have great assistant coaches and young men who are willing to work hard, anything is possible.”

San Ysidro (1-2) next plays at Castle Park (2-1) on Friday. The Trojans are coming off their first loss of the season, 23-7 last Friday to visiting Grossmont, and will be looking to bounce back into the victory column.

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