The San Lorenzo Valley High School football team scored on defense to open the scoring against league-leading Aptos High, but the short-lived 7-0 Cougar advantage turned into a blowout for the opposition.
Aptos High (7-1, 5-0 SCCAL), the last Santa Cruz Coast Athletic Leagues undefeated, smothered the Cougars with a massive ground attack to hand the home team a 42-14 loss that dropped SLV to 1-4 in league and 3-6 overall.
To open the game, Cougar linebacker Cole Morris ripped the ball from Aptos High’s quarterback Riggs Powell and dashed 14 yards for the opening touchdown.
Though Powell and the Mariners turned over the ball four times on the game, the Mariner rushing attack was too hot to handle as they racked up 620 yards on the ground and 633 overall and held the Cougars to a mere 131 total yards on the day.
It was just the second time in the last 23 years that the Mariners have defeated SLV and their first win at the Cougars home field in that time.
As part of the game’s festivities, Cougar tailback and linebacker Jonny Cooper was awarded the No. 21 jersey worn by former Cougar David Maze who was killed in an alcohol related driving accident in 1997. The jersey is awarded before the final SLV home game of the season to the player who best exemplifies the dedication and determination that was established by David Maze.
“Jonny is a great kid with a tremendous work ethic,” Head Coach Doug Morris said. “He could have very easily fallen into a ‘poor me’ mind set but didn’t. After he broke his arm early last season he dug in and earned everything he has become.”
Cooper accepted the award from Laurie Maze, David’s mother, in front of a large crowd. In silence he humbly donned the highly prestigious jersey before taking the field. Cooper had a strong game, recovering two fumbles and stealing away an interception while also making a number of tackles.
On offense, Cooper led the Cougar running attack with 18 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown along with an 11-yard reception.
“I’m honored that the coaches thought of me for this,” Cooper said. “It is something you don’t just take lightly.”
SLV will take the next week off with a bye before their final showdown of the season at 2 p.m. Nov. 12 at Harbor High.