CCS Sophomore of the Year
CODY AHOLA, CHRISTOPHER
Christopher High may not have won any football games in the 2019 season, but that didn’t stop sophomore receiver Cody Ahola from being one of the top impact players in the PCAL’s Gabilan Division.
Just two years removed from a Central Coast Section title, and having reached nine wins or more three times in the past decade, 2019 was a rough year by any team’s standards, but especially for the Cougars and head coach Tim Pierleoni. Ahola, however, was a massive bright spot, and figures to lead a resurgence headed into the new decade.
“Cody is the real deal, and he is just scratching the surface of what he can become,” said Pierleoni. “He’s extremely athletic, with a great attitude and he is great academically. He is everything you want in a student-athlete.”
For Ahola, his breakthrough sophomore campaign actually got underway at the end of his freshman season, when he was a playoff call-up and led Christopher in receiving during a quarterfinal loss to Valley Christian. From there, it was only a question of how good he would be as a sophomore, not whether he would be good at the varsity level.
“He really opened our eyes when he came up for that game and led us in receiving right away,” Pierleoni added. “It was immediately clear he would be a playmaker for us.”
Ahola started 2019 with another eye-opening performance, albeit in a loss that would also foreshadow the rest of the Cougars’ season. On a night against The King’s Academy when the Cougars struggled to get anything going offensively, Ahola was the outlier. Playing against a defense which would eventually lead the Knights to a CCS title and CIF NorCal berth, Ahola racked up 15 catches for 162 yards and a second-quarter touchdown, the only points of the night for Christopher.
Those types of standout performances continued the rest of the season, as Ahola earned the respect of coaches and players around the Pacific Coast Athletic League.
“(Cody) moves very fluidly and made plays wherever they needed him to,” said Salinas coach Steve Zenk. “They moved him around to wherever the ball was going because he is so athletic. He’s just a really good player.”
Ahola was actually held to a season-low in receiving yards against Zenk’s Cowboys, with nine catches for 73 yards in that loss. By then, he had a big target on his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame, especially after a 17-catch, 243-yard, two-score performance, two weeks earlier during a competitive loss to Carmel, one of the top performances in the section during the 2019 season, especially when combined with his five carries for 53 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
For the season, Ahola finished with 86 catches for 1,019 yards and eight touchdowns, despite playing in just eight games, and added 15 carries for 123 yards and three more scores. He figures to have an even larger role as a junior.
“He will be on both sides of the ball next year, and could end up being one of the best football players I have ever coached,” Pierleoni said. “He will be a leader for the next two years, and is that great character type of guy you just love to coach.”
Ahola did get limited time on the defensive side of the ball as a sophomore, registering a five-tackle, two-sack performance against Live Oak and also breaking up four passes during the season. 2020, therefore, could be a special year for Ahola and a program which returns its starting quarterback, three leading rushers, three leading receivers and five of its six leading tacklers. Christopher also does not have to look far back to see a team which shook off an unsuccessful season to have success the following year; the Cougars won just one game in 2016 before capturing 11 victories and a section title the following season.
For his efforts throughout this past season, we are pleased to recognize Christopher’s Cody Ahola as the Prep2Prep Central Coast Section Sophomore of the Year.
Other players considered for this award include Saint Francis’ Camilo Arquette, Valley Christian’s William Cuddie, Menlo-Atherton’s Jalen Moss, Lincoln’s Epoki Fakaosi and Leland’s Jack Ryan.