A week after losing to its rival on its home field, the Cate School football team was left with a bad taste in its mouth.
The Rams were able to use the loss as motivation in their 63-40 victory Saturday afternoon against Calvary Chapel, advancing to the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.
“After last week against Thacher, it feels good to get that feeling out of my gut,” Cate coach Ben Soto said postgame, referencing the 48-32 loss a week ago. “The kids played hard and they played well. I thought our kids responded and they’re happy they get to play another game and I’m happy too.”
Will Deardorff, filing in at quarterback for Cate, had a stellar performance. The junior accounted for six total touchdowns, passing for 151 yards and four TDs and rushing for 158 yards and two more scores.
“I thought the offensive line was really strong today,” Deardorff said. “I think anyone could have run through some of the holes they were making today. I could have crawled through some of them.”
Cate jumped out to a 42-16 halftime advantage. Deardorff and sophomore Mason Oetgen connected for three touchdowns in the first two quarters – including one where the receiver actually ran the wrong play.
“I thought it was a run play, but I went out and Will found me,” said Oetgen, who had a team-high five receptions for 95 yards.
The Rams scored twice to open the second half to build a 56-16 lead, though the Grizzlies fought back and scored three consecutive touchdowns to make it a two-score game.
With 3:48 left in the game, senior Khadim Pouye took an inside handoff 18 yards for the score to extend the lead. Pouye finished with 114 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Calvary Chapel continued to battle, though an interception by Oetgen allowed Cate to run out the clock and advance to the quarterfinals.
With the win, the Rams will get another shot at Flintridge Prep – a team that beat Cate 48-26 Sept. 28. The Rebels won 56-6 Friday night over PAL Charter Academy. Game details were expected to be finalized this weekend.
“We’re really excited to play that game,” Deardroff said. “I didn’t get to play defense against them last time because of an injury, so I’m excited to get that opportunity. They’re a really good team so we’ll have to play well.”
Deardorff said the team played two really good quarters against Thacher and strung together three solid quarters on Saturday – but he and his teammates know they will have to put together a complete game to upset the Rebels next week.
The Rams welcomed back senior Thomas Nettesheim last week following his recovery from an ACL injury. They hope to have sophomore quarterback Will Bouma return as well, as the signal caller has missed the last two games with a concussion.
“Next time will be the first time that we’re 100 percent healthy,” Soto said. “It’s a good way to go into the second round of the playoffs.”
Deardroff is looking forward to moving back to receiver next week.
“It’s a lot less stressful,” he said. “I can just play football instead of having to think. I’m personally excited and I’m excited for the team because I think it’s going to help out a lot.”
No matter where the junior lines up, Soto knows he will make plays.
“He’s just a great talent,” Soto said. “If you’re a defensive coordinator you have to scheme to stop him.”
After Cate lost to Flintridge Prep earlier this year, several players were hopeful to get another shot against the No. 4 eight-man team in the state. They’ll get their wish and have a shot at redemption.
“We’ll come up with a plan that hopefully gives us the opportunity to score at least one more point than them,” Soto said.