The West High football team’s defense denied the Lathrop Spartans their bid for a last-minute comeback on Friday, sealing the Wolf Pack’s 20-7 win in the opening game of the 2014 season.
With West ahead 13-7 in the fourth quarter, the Spartans covered 70 yards in their last-chance drive and got to the 6-yard line.
With five seconds left West junior linebacker Matthew Roe batted down Lathrop quarterback Diego Chavez’ end-zone pass.
The Spartans got one more opportunity with two seconds left. This time West junior safety Marcel Dancy intercepted Chavez’ end-zone pass and saw a wide-open path to the other end of the field.
Dancy said the interception and 100-yard touchdown sprint was the perfect opportunity to take the game back.
“That was all God there. He just blessed me and put me in that position and I made it happen for my team,” Dancy said.
Roe added that the Lathrop offense was determined, with Chavez completing five of seven passes on the final drive before the West defense dialed in on him enough that Roe could get a hand on the ball.
“We saw that they were doing a fade route,” Roe said. “The receiver wasn’t paying attention and I got him off guard and the quarterback threw it too early.”
Up until the end it was a close contest. West scored in the first quarter on a 10-play, 52-yard drive, with junior quarterback James Gibbons exploiting a gap up the middle for a 16-yard touchdown run.
“I just saw the D-end coming to the running back,” Gibbons said. “I cut in and saw the hole and there it was, touchdown.”
Lathrop got within the West 20-yard line twice in the first half, but was turned back both times. The Spartans’ chance to score with nine seconds left in the first half was denied with West junior Justin Velasco’s interception in the end zone.
Lathrop tied it up 7-7 early in the third quarter after the Spartans picked up a West fumble and drove 37 yards on 10 plays to score on Jacon Devita’s 1-yard run.
“We bent a little bit, but we came up big and played big defense,” West coach Steve Anastasio said.
“Our offense can’t put that kind of pressure on our defense. We’ve got to move the ball a little bit better,” Anastasio said. “Some of it is being conservative in our first game. We’re trying to see what we’ve got, feel out what we can do.”
The West offense covered 174 total yards, including 149 yards rushing. Dancy ran the ball for 87 yards on 19 carries, including most of West’s 55-yard, fourth-quarter drive that ended with Dancy’s 13-yard touchdown run up the middle to give West a 13-7 lead with 3:11 left.
Senior kicker Ivan Terriquez made two of three point-after kicks.
Lathrop covered 250 yards of offense, with Chavez completing 13 of 28 passes for 134 yards.
Lathrop won the sophomore game 27-13. West scored both of its touchdowns in the second quarter, including a touchdown pass from Jake Hiltachk to Emmanuel Turner and a touchdown run for Hiltachk.
West’s freshmen lost 32-0 loss at home to Lathrop on Thursday. West coach David Luera said he lost some of his linemen, who moved up to the JV team, but kept linebacker Eliu Sosa, who made 25 tackles for West.
Freedom 14, Tracy 6
Penalties and lack of offensive momentum plagued the Tracy High football team in the Bulldogs’ 14-6 loss to Freedom High of Oakley on Friday at Wayne Schneider Stadium.
Tracy coach Matt Shrout said that the Bulldog defense did its job in holding the Freedom team to a scoreless first half, but the Tracy offense also was unable to gain any ground, largely because of personal foul and offsides penalties that undid any of Tracy’s gains.
“They didn’t beat us. We beat ourselves, no doubt about it,” Shrout said. “We moved the ball and our defense played really well. I have no complaints about our defense at all, but I have a lot of issues with our offense now.”
Freedom scored in the third quarter on a pass, and Tracy scored at the end of the third on senior quarterback Michael Brown’s 23-yard touchdown pass to senior Josh Clarke, but Tracy missed the point-after.
Freedom made it a 14-6 game with a touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter.
Tracy’s sophomore lost to Freedom 14-12 on Friday and Tracy High freshman team finished with a 19-0 loss in their first game on Thursday at Freedom High in Oakley.
Sophomores: Beyer 40, Mountain House 0
The Mountain House Mustangs suffered from turnovers in their first gamed on Friday against the Beyer High Patriot freshmen at Gregori High School in Modesto.
Mustangs coach Jason McCloskey said that the Beyer team scored once on an interception return, and two lost Mountain House fumbles, plus favorable field positions after punts gave the Patriots their scoring opportunities.
“Beyer’s team is pretty well-coached and you could tell the majority of the players are well-seasoned through youth programs,” McCloskey said. “They just slowly marched the ball on us.”
He added that the Mustang offense moved the ball well at times, and McCloskey also saw some solid defense.
“They just kept working, and that’s kind of our mantra for the year,” he said.
Freshmen: Kimball 14, Hayward 0
The Jaguar freshmen opened their season with a 14-0 win on the road over the Hayward High Farmers. Kimball scored on a touchdown pass from Anthony Leonardo to Joseph Parungao in the second quarter, and on Rahbert Woodie’s third-quarter touchdown run. Ricky Ochoa made both point-after kicks.
Defensive leaders were Amritpal Singh, Marquise Cunningham, James Vaughn, Ivan Molina, Jerrod Villalon, and Lorenzo Valencia.
Contact Bob Brownne at email@example.com or 830-4227.