According to second-year coach Nick Marchy, the Tigers’ eighth consecutive season reaching the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs was a good one, even though the team was knocked out in the first round.
“We didn’t accomplish all of our goals. But I think overall we had a successful season,” Marchy said. “The kids played hard and showed up ready every day.”
Patterson finished 7-4, with all the Tigers’ losses to teams that qualified for the playoffs: Escalon, Los Banos, Central Catholic of Modesto and Benicia.
The Tigers started the season with a 42-14 victory over Johansen High of Modesto on Aug. 24, a game in which senior quarterback Joey Lopes passed for 190 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a fourth score as Patterson trounced the hometown Vikings.
“This is a confidence builder for us — we’re starting to get everyone on the same page,” Marchy said following the Week 1 win. “We wanted to see what everyone can do and get everyone going.”
Patterson’s first true test was Sept. 14 on the road against Trans-Valley League runner-up Escalon.
After earning victories in their first three games, the Tigers dug themselves an early hole and were unable to climb back out in a 24-13 loss.
Marchy huddled with his players near midfield following the defeat.
“It hurts, doesn’t it? But we didn’t play for four quarters,” Marchy said. “We’ve got to execute on every play. All of next week, you’re going to be thinking about that scoreboard.”
Patterson’s early 3-1 record carried the team into WAC play.
Patterson narrowly defeated its first two league opponents by a combined score of 52-41. The Tigers disposed of Central Valley High of Ceres and Livingston High, setting up a much-anticipated Week 7 clash with perennially stacked Los Banos.
“The Los Banos game is by far the biggest test we’ve had in league so far,” Marchy said before the matchup.
Los Banos High handed its WAC rival a 48-12 defeat at Patterson Community Stadium, outscoring the host Tigers 26-0 in the fourth quarter. Los Banos quarterback Chris Corpuz completed 16 of 22 pass attempts for 286 yards with three touchdown passes.
Patterson tried to put that loss in the past by upending its next two league foes, Pacheco High of Los Banos and Ceres High, by a combined margin of 76-35.
The Tigers then hosted Central Catholic in Week 10. Patterson and Central Catholic shared identical 7-2 records, but perhaps most importantly, both were jockeying for postseason position.
Central Catholic filled up the stat sheet in its league finale against Patterson, making enough big plays for a 63-20 victory on Nov. 2 at Patterson Community Stadium.
Central Catholic senior back Rey Vega rushed for 180 yards on just 12 carries and scored five times — three times on runs of 60 yards or more — to lead the Raiders.
“The big plays Central Catholic made here and there — those killed us and put us behind quick,” Marchy said.
The loss dropped the Tigers to third place in league and resulted in a No. 8 seed entering the playoffs.
Patterson hosted Benicia, a No. 9 seed, on Friday, Nov. 9, in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
The 27-24 defeat — keyed by an 88-yard kick return touchdown by a team that hadn’t scored on a kickoff all season — overshadowed a thrilling comeback by Patterson, which had trailed 21-0 in the first quarter.
Despite the loss, Marchy said he looked forward to seeing what the future held for the program.
“As soon as the last game’s over, we can slowly start to look ahead,” Marchy said. “I think that there is a lot to be excited about in terms of the team’s future.
“Each year, the goal is to win league and to get to playoffs. We want to keep getting better.”
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.