Second-year coach Nick Marchy’s No. 8-seeded Tigers (7-3, 4-2 Western Athletic Conference) will be looking to get back on track after a 63-20 home loss to Modesto’s Central Catholic High.
The regular-season finale Friday, Nov. 2, was Patterson’s first defeat since a 48-12 loss to Los Banos High on Oct. 12 at home.
“This team has the determination and the confidence to get back on that field and play football,” Marchy said. “Getting to the playoffs is one of our goals. But these kids want to play big in big games.”
Benicia, seeded ninth, also lost its last regular-season game, a 40-30 defeat at the hands of American Canyon High.
Benicia (7-3, 3-2 Solano County Athletic Conference) advanced to the playoffs by virtue of its runner-up league finish. The Panthers are in the postseason for the ninth time — the fourth season in a row — and hope to add another pennant to the championship flag the program won in 1982.
Patterson, meanwhile, is making its 13th playoff appearance. The Tigers have advanced to one section championship game, a 24-6 loss to Central Catholic in the 2007 Division V game.
Patterson and Benicia met in the playoffs once before. In 2009, the Panthers handed the visiting Tigers a 26-20 overtime loss in the first round.
“We’re in a fortunate situation to be hosting Friday’s game,” Marchy said. “The band will be playing, the cheerleaders will be going and the support from the community will be there. Our job is to go out and execute.”
Benicia coach Craig Holden’s spread offense requires speed and agility. Typically, there is a running back and four receivers, with numerous variations. It also features a no-back set with five receivers.
The Panthers’ offense is pass heavy — requiring senior quarterback Ryan Bohnet to be as good with his feet as he is with his arm — and can lead to big runs, because the defense is spread thin.
Benicia also boasts a strong offensive line and a solid group of receivers, including juniors James Hyde Jr. and Jared Hanson-Regaldo. The duo combined for more than 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
The matchup will be a solid test for Patterson.
“We’re keeping our focus on Benicia. We’re not looking ahead, we’re not looking behind us,” Marchy said. “We’re going out to do our jobs on Friday and keep moving forward.”
Patterson continues its campaign in search of a season-ending four-game winning streak and a Division III championship.
”Hopefully, the kids will respond, get this (losing) taste out of their mouths and start a new winning streak,” Marchy said.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.