HALF MOON BAY — After hometown parades to celebrate back-to-back Central Coast Section championships, the football team at Half Moon Bay commemorated its 2017 Northern California title and state runner-up run with a ring ceremony.
“We just felt like the community had enough parades,” HMB coach Keith Holden said.
The Cougars enjoyed an unprecedented three-year run — 11-2 in 2015 and ’16, then 14-1 in ’17.
At a small, tight-knit community, such a public school dynasty is usually not meant to last.
Thereby, HMB endured a 3-7 campaign last fall.
“We lost like 20 seniors, so we had a young group,” said Tristan Hofmann, a freshman on the 2017 team.
“We were all new,” HMB senior Cade Duncan said. “None of us played varsity, really.”
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One of those seniors lost to graduation is Chase Hofmann, a sophomore defensive back at Pacific University in Oregon.
His younger brother had big shoes to fill a year ago.
“It was kind of tough because I was trying to do two different jobs for the same play,” Hofmann said. “I felt like I just tried to play as hard as I could and do as much as I can.”
One of five sophomores on varsity, along with freshman slotback/strong safety Quinn McCauley, it’s a numbers game at times for the Cougars.
“If they’re ready, we bring them up,” said Holden, who took over for Matt Ballard in 2012 after spending the previous nine seasons on staff as an assistant coach. “The process just happens naturally. Last year we could’ve had a really good JV team, but we didn’t. We ended up pulling those guys up and I think they’re better now for it.”
Need proof? How about a 2-0 start, which includes last week’s 45-26 triumph over Burlingame — the 2018 CCS Division IV champs.
“I think the one thing is just our kids are resilient,” Holden said. “The numbers don’t necessarily matter because you can only put 11 on the field at the same time. You saw at practice today, everyone on the team contributes. Everyone was working. There’s no guy standing around.”
He added: “I just think, for our guys, it’s business as usual. It’s not a big deal. We had low numbers when they played Pop Warner. We just deal with it.”
It’s a small town. Born and raised.
“We’ve all grown up and played football together,” Hofmann said. “It’s nothing new for us. I think this is out 12th season together.”
The 17-year-old — now a 6-foot-1, 180-pound running back and middle linebacker — could’ve been a standout at baseball, basketball or wrestling.
“I’ve been hearing about this kid since he was 5,” Holden said. “Things just come naturally to him. He’s really competitive, really smart and a very good athlete. And football is kind of special because he puts his heart and soul into it. He’s the complete package.”
Quosig scored three touchdowns against Burlingame, which is something you don’t expect from someone with a 5-7, 140-pound stature.
“He’s pound for pound one of our strongest guys,” Holden said. “And I tell the kids, don’t get me wrong, we go into the weight room and we work out and we want to get strong and all that stuff, but no one cares how big or how tall or how fast you are. What we care is, can you play? So, I’ve never told a kid you can’t play because you’re too small. And Connor can play.”
He added: “To us, size is not a big deal.”
That’s the attitude the 16-year-old takes onto the field.
“Of course,” Quosig said. “That’s the game.”
Duncan, a 6-2, 205-pound prototype at 17 years old, is one of the few members on the HMB roster who fits the mold.
“He’s the kid who does actually have the physical frame,” Holden said. “He’s athletic. He’s got really good hands. He’s a good one for us.”
HMB sophomore William Moffitt is the quarterback after stepping in late last year for a couple of wins.
“He’s emotionally ready,” Holden said.
The Cougars don’t actually have a choice. Every member of the 25-man roster must make a contribution.
“You have to count on them a lot,” Duncan said of his teammates. “Everybody has to be here, make each other better.”
“We always have basically two goals,” Hofmann said. “It’s win CCS and beat Terra Nova.”
HMB will get another chance to prove itself on Friday at home in a rematch of last year’s 35-6 loss to Sacred Heart Prep that incurred a running clock for the entire second half.
“I don’t know how it’s going to go down, but we’ve put ourselves in a better spot to compete against them this year than we have in the past,” Holden said.
“It’s Cougar Pride,” Duncan said.
Source: East Bay Football: Is Half Moon Bay all the way back?