STOCKTON — For 41 seconds, the St. Mary’s High varsity football team had its revenge on West.
The Rams snagged gains of 42, 19 and 34 yards on the first three touches of the contest, scoring on the last when senior tailback Dug Martin punched into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
But in a déjà vu battle for the Tri-City Athletic League title Friday — revenge was short lived.
West scored on each of its first four possessions and rolled up a 42-28 victory on the road at Sanguinetti Field.
“Going to thier place and playing as tough and as physical as we did was pretty good,” West coach Steve Lopez said. “In that first quarter, our line was firing out and every play I called made it look like I was a genius.
“Everybody has been picking St. Mary’s to win this league, and our guys just did not believe that was going to happen.”
The loss was huge for the Rams, who have dropped their third-straight contest to the Wolf Pack (5-0 TCAL, 7-3 overall) and the second for a TCAL title. This one sends the squad against Central California Conference Champion Merced in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
Merced (9-1) is a contender to represent Northern California in this year’s California Bowl.
“Merced is good, but for us it was all about playing at home in the playoffs,” Lopez said. “We played 14 games last year, and now we are playing at least 11.”
West will host Beyer at 7:30 p.m. Friday. If the Wolf Pack wins, they will face San Joaquin Athletic Association champion Lincoln, or CCC runner-up Golden Valley.
Lincoln beat Tracy 56-0 on Friday to advance to the playoffs.
“Lincoln must be pretty good,” Lopez said. “I think that now every team is going to be good, because there are only eight of us left.”
On Friday, the Pack built a 28-7 lead in the first quarter and punched in two more scores in the second period.
Tyler Kenton bullied his way in from five yards out on West’s first two drives. The second score was set up by a Jake Nielsen interception that was returned 25 yards to the St. Mary’s 9-yard line.
Kenton finished with 156 yards and three scores on 23 carries, while Montrel Richardson rushed 20 times for 218 yards. Richardson scored on a six-yard rumble in the first quarter and added a touchdown run of 58 yards before the period could close.
West quarterback Chris Fuller was 5-for-9 at the for 48 yards, including a five-yard strike for six to Jideolfo Okwudiri in the fourth quarter.
Okwudiri snagged a key fourth quarter interception to lead the Wolf Pack defense. Michael Donato and Mike Flemming finished with nine tackles while Mufaro Zackers added eight.