Half Moon Bay High School lost to Wilcox, 34-21 in a nonleague football game Friday night.

The game didn’t turn into a blowout as might have been expected, especially after the Wildcats jumped out to a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

How did the Cougars turn the game to a respectable outcome against a team that would be a favorite to win a league title in 11 of 13 leagues in the Central Coast Section?

“Our kids are resilient,” said coach Keith Holden. “A lot of kids, coming off a loss in Week 1 and quickly trailing 21-0 would have just quit. Our kids aren’t like that. Our kids at Half Moon Bay feel like the more things are stacked up against them, the better they are.”

From the second quarter on, the Cougars proved they belonged on the field with the Chargers, a traditionally strong team in Santa Clara County.

It started early in the second quarter when the Cougars, starting their drive on their own 25, scored on one play.

Daniel Welch took a toss from Shane Acton, swept around left end and sprinted down the sideline for the score.

Wilcox responded with another score, thinking that would finish off the Cougars.

The Chargers went for one more score late in the half. With no timeouts left and the ball sitting on the Half Moon Bay 8, Joseph Lowman recorded a sack.

The Chargers rushed to get the field goal team on the field. Neil Seaton blocked the kick. Dominic Pintarelli picked up the ball at the 30 and ran 70 yards for the score. The point after touchdown made it 28-14.

Had the Wilcox field goal attempt been good, it would have been nullified by an illegal procedure penalty.

Wilcox put the game out of reach early in the third quarter. Starting at the Half Moon Bay 10 following the Cougars’ third turnover of the night, the Chargers scored their final touchdown.

Half Moon Bay responded with a score of its own later in the quarter. John Bali finished the drive with a 3-yard run, ending scoring for the evening.

No one was disappointed with the loss.

“It’s motivation for next week,” Pintarelli said. “We can hang.”

The Cougars are eager for Friday’s game at South San Francisco.

“It shows the intensity that we have to play at,” Acton said. “I feel we can play at that level if we just stop with the mental mistakes.”

The frosh-soph team earned a 17-14 win with Pierre Salinas kicking the winning 38-yard field with 57 seconds left in the game. Moments earlier, he barely missed a 43-yard field goal that hit the bottom goal post and landed in the end zone. Half Moon Bay got the ball back on a turnover, setting up Salinas.

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