The tone for the season-opening football matchup between Patterson and the Johansen Vikings Aug. 30 was set immediately.
On their first drive of the game, the Tigers hit paydirt when senior Jordan Levu made a spectacular fourth-down conversion catch along the right sideline, and classmate Brandon Williams stormed 2 yards to the end zone.
That score touched off a 35-point explosion in the first half as Patterson rolled to an eventual 45-0 win over an outmatched hometown Vikings squad.
"We had guys flying around the field and doing their jobs the entire game," said Patterson coach Nick Marchy. "This team has a lot of special players. I'm excited about the kids that we have right now."
The fans at Dan Gonsalves Stadium saw for the first time what all the excitement is about as they watched the Tigers (1-0) win their 11th straight season opener.
At the Vikings' 26-yard line, the Tigers converted on 4th-and-8 when Levu made a ridiculous sprawling catch by the sideline to keep Patterson's opening drive alive. Two plays later, Williams pounded through defenders for the team’s first touchdown.
"We knew that we had to work together as one unit in order to get this win," Williams said. "Our goal is to work each week to get better and better, and get to the top."
Johansen (0-1) hoped to establish a pattern of running success on its opening drive, picking up 10 yards on two carries before stalling at its own 26-yard line.
Revving high throughout Friday's game, senior Jacob Gomez burst through to block the ensuing Vikings' punt and recovered the ball near the end zone for a touchdown to make it 14-0.
On its next possession, Johansen was able to piece together its longest drive of the game. But a sputtering offense hindered the Vikings' hopes for a push into the end zone when a fourth-down conversion attempt came up just short of the first-down marker, and the home team turned the ball over on downs.
Patterson was forced to punt on its next possession, but it didn't take the Tigers long to reclaim the football.
With 6:16 remaining in the second quarter , Patterson junior Hunter Powers intercepted Johansen's quarterback, jumping the route before the ball got to the receiver, and returning the pass 29-yards for a touchdown.
With the wheels already falling off, Johansen went three-and-out on its next possession, and Patterson found the end zone eight plays later when junior Damien Paulo connected with senior Avion Warmsley over the middle on a 26-yard toss for a 28-0 lead.
Williams' 55-yard punt return for a touchdown with 25 seconds left in the second capped the Tigers' dominating first-half runaway.
"We have talent all over the field," Williams said. "But it’s a week to week basis for us. We are focused on our team and doing our job."
Senior Daniel Kelepi hauled in a 58-yard touchdown pass from Paulo, and junior Alex Gebbing (6-for-6 on point after kicks) made good on his lone 22-yard field goal attempt for good measure.
The Tigers will continue their season at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, when they travel to face Tracy’s Kimball High Jaguars.
The JV Tigers looked to get off to a strong start in 2013 Friday night when they battled first-year program El Capitan High of Merced under the lights of Dan Gonsalves Stadium.
Patterson pounded the ball on the ground with sophomore Michael Lawson running for 186 yards and five touchdowns as it won 34-7.
"It's our first step up the ladder to where we want to be at the end of the season," said Patterson coach Harley Parson. "We're trying to keep the kids focused and concentrating on one play at a time."
The Tigers (1-0) reeled off a three-play scoring drive on its first possession of the game. The drive was capped by Lawson’s 55-yard run up the right sideline to make it 6-0 with 8:57 left in the first quarter.
El Capitan (0-1) responded on the ensuing kickoff by returning the ball 68 yards for a touchdown, and the extra-point kick gave the Gauchos a 7-6 lead.
But the upstart team's advantage was short-lived, and Patterson proceeded to use the remaining 30-plus minutes to reel off 28 unanswered points.
Quarterback Kevin Todd found Lawson with a 24-yard scoring pass with 7:32 left in the second period.
The Tigers recovered a loose ball on the Gauchos' ensuing drive, and Patterson took over at the El Capitan 32-yard line. Two plays later, Lawson carried the ball on a serpentine-esque 37-yard jaunt, and Alec Espos hauled in a 2-point conversion that made the score 20-7.
With about four minutes remaining before half-time, Lawson took a pitch out of the backfield and, making defenders look silly in their attempts to tackle him, raced 17 yards for another touchdown.
"I came in thinking that I had to play hard and never give up," Lawson said. "I had a goal to score four touchdowns, and I came out with five. This is the first win of many for this team (this season)."
Lawson's 1-yard touchdown plunge, and Nickolaus Priester's 2-point conversion grab midway through the third quarter provided the final margin of victory.
"I really want my team to keep coming out, and to keep making progress," Lawson said. "We have a very talented team that can go very far. We have a chance to win the (Western Athletic Conference)."
Johansen's freshman football team scored on a 7-yard run with 48 seconds left in regulation to give the Vikings a 6-0 victory over visiting Patterson.
The Tigers (0-1) were their own worst enemy as mistakes led to wasted opportunities.
With 6:06 left in the first, Patterson received help from its defense with an interception from Joel Garcia that set up the visitors at their own 45. The drive stalled, however, as the Vikings forced a turnover on downs.
On the Tigers' first drive of the second quarter, running back Tre McGill had a 63-yard touchdown run called back because of a penalty, and Patterson eventually had to punt.
On the last play of the first half, with 37 ticks remaining, McGill broke off another long run, shedding tackles and dodging defenders. But he was tracked down and corralled a few yards shy of the end zone.
The Tigers will continue their season at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, when they host Tracy’s Kimball High Jaguars.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.