Watsonville High's John Montante is hit with water from player Calvin Lee (6) after the Wildcatz won the Belgard Kup game on Saturday at Aptos. (Glenn Cravens/Register-Pajaronian)
APTOS — Clutching the Belgard Kup in his hand, John Montante was about to speak to his victorious Watsonville High Football team when he was struck with the ever-popular-on-a-cold-night ice bath by two of his players.
Some of the water splashed off of Montante and into the prized cup. Montante looked at the cup, and he knew what was coming.
“Drink it! Drink it!” the players chanted loudly.
Montante obliged and took a swig.
It was a night to celebrate for the Watsonville High players, who soundly defeated Pajaro Valley 51-12 in the seventh Belgard Kup Game on Saturday at Trevin Dilfer Field.
The 51 points is the most scored by Watsonville in the rivalry game, surpassing the 2009 team that put up 50.
The win was also the Wildcatz’s seventh in the series, as they retained the Belgard Kup, something it has done every year since the teams started battling in 2006.
Montante, a first-year coach at Watsonville, won it on his first try. He’s the second different coach to win the rivalry game, as previous Watsonville coach Tom Sullivan won the first six.
Watsonville barely had the ball in the first half. When it did, it punished the Grizzlies.
For those stat geeks who like to measure value of plays, they would have praised Watsonville, who got its 30th point on only its 15th offensive play. That play was a 4-yard touchdown by do-it-all running back Roger Contreras with 1:36 to go in the second quarter.
Watsonville’s 30-point, second-quarter explosion calmed the Wildcatz faithful, who saw the men in black and gold struggle to stop Pajaro Valley in the first quarter.
Pajaro Valley had the ball for all but one play in that frame and, like last year, scored first in the rivalry bout.
The Grizzlies needed eight plays to go 65 yards. On third down at the Watsonville 24-yard line, quarterback Eddie Medina threw a play-action pass to a falling Justin Mendoza, who caught the ball, setting the Pajaro Valley side of the field off in a roar. The extra-point kick went wide, leaving the Grizzlies with a 6-0 lead.
On the kickoff, the Pajaro Valley kicker booted the ball right at a Watsonville player at midfield, who couldn’t react in time to secure it. The Grizzlies got it back and began another lengthy drive.
The Grizzlies got to the 12-yard line, and the boys in green were prepping another touchdown jig. Instead, a Medina pass was picked off in the end zone by Contreras. After the play, Contreras looked toward the Pajaro Valley faithful, and signaled to them to hush.
The karma police might have struck him down, because on the next play, he caught a pass from Eddie Mares and ran 47 yards before fumbling it back to Pajaro Valley.
That was Watsonville’s only offensive play of the first quarter.
Contreras got the Wildcatz on the board with an 81-yard punt return with 10:05 to play in the second quarter. The two-point conversion was stopped short, and the game was left to be tied at 6-6.
And in a right-back-at-ya move, the Wildcatz successfully recovered an onside kick by kicking the ball at a Pajaro Valley High player.
From there, Watsonville couldn’t be stopped.
The Wildcatz’s Michael Barcelo, who gave Pajaro Valley fits, scored his first of four touchdowns with 6:43 to go in the second quarter, barreling for six yards.
A minute later, Mares scored another touchdown on a one-yard run. All of a sudden, the momentum Pajaro Valley built was gone as it stared at a 22-6 deficit to its rival.
Three plays into the third quarter, Watsonville added to its lead when Contreras broke free for a 48-yard touchdown run.
Barcelo put in his third touchdown with 5:05 to play in the third quarter, and a running clock was issued.
Anthony Cantrell got Pajaro Valley’s other touchdown of the night, going 35 yards into the end zone with 8:19 to play in the game.
By that point, Cantrell was well into the record books as Pajaro Valley’s single-season rushing record holder.
Needing only 30 yards to get the record, he finished well above that, totaling 104 yards to finish with 1,298.
Medina tallied 67 yards on six passes.
Contreras had 186 yards rushing, 58 yards passing, one rushing touchdown, one interception, two lost fumble and one punt return for a touchdown.
It was quite the night for the Watsonville High running back, who emerged in the second half to help the Wildcatz win three of their final five games.
Mares totaled 125 yards on five passes.
The four wins for Watsonville is the most since its 2009 league championship season.
For Pajaro Valley, it finishes the season with one victory for the third time in four years. The Grizzlies remain 0-for-November, having lost all 14 contests in school history.
For the complete article see the 11-13-2012 issue.
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