Patterson coach Nick Marchy said the defeat was painful, but preparing for postseason play was more important for his team, which ended the Western Athletic Conference season with four wins and two losses.
“The big plays Central Catholic made here and there — those killed us and put us behind quick,” Marchy said. “This loss is going to hurt us for a couple of days. But we’ll come back ready to work on Monday.”
One 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 (8-2 overall, 6-0 WAC). Senior tight end John Mundt added two long touchdown grabs for the Modesto-based school, which claimed the WAC championship outright.
Central Catholic’s offense asserted itself early, breaking into the end zone on a 60-yard scamper by Vega for a 7-0 lead with about four minutes elapsed of the first-quarter clock.
On the ensuing possession, Patterson senior quarterback Joey Lopes connected with senior receiver Dominic Dawkins for a 56-yard catch that set up a 1st-and-goal situation at the Raider 8-yard line.
But the Tigers squandered the opportunity, and Lopes’ fourth-down pass was swatted down at the line of scrimmage, forcing a turnover on downs.
Central Catholic had the ball back at its 11-yard line with about eight minutes to play in the second quarter. The quarterback fired the ball over the middle and the receiver raced 70 yards to the end zone for a 14-0 advantage and a vast amount of momentum.
On the next series, the Raiders forced another turnover on downs after stopping Patterson at its 41.
Facing fourth-and-1 from the Tigers 32, a Central Catholic fullback took the handoff and rumbled into the end zone for a 21-point edge.
The Tigers went 3-and-out on their next drive, and three plays later, the Raiders scored on a 61-yard gallop with 3:57 left in the second quarter.
Patterson’s next opportunity came with about 3:40 left in the first half, but on the first play of the drive, a Central Catholic defender hit Lopes as he threw a pass and the ball was intercepted.
Two plays later, the Raiders quarterback found a teammate streaking down the middle of the field all alone, and a 36-yard touchdown put the Raiders up 35-0.
Dawkins returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards to set up Patterson at the Central Catholic 17.
Facing 4th-and-goal from the Raiders 16 with eight seconds left in the second quarter, the Tigers cracked the scoreboard when Lopes threaded the needle on a touchdown pass to junior tight end Jordan Levu.
But Central Catholic silenced the hometown crowd just before the halftime whistle, returning a kickoff 83 yards and making the score 42-7 on the final play of the first half.
Dawkins returned the second-half kickoff 71 yards to the Raider 19, and on the next play, Levu made a sprawling catch of a pass from Lopes in the back corner of the end zone, clipping the deficit to 42-13.
The Tigers defense held for a three-and-out series, and Lopes led a 10-play, 69-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard jump-ball scoring toss to Levu near the right front pylon.
That was as close as Patterson would get, however. Five plays later, an 18-yard rushing touchdown for Central Catholic made the score 49-20.
“We’ve got to play with intensity for the full 48 minutes,” Marchy said. “Our tackling was the biggest thing tonight. We knew we had to shut down (Central Catholic’s) run. They’re all about running the football.”
The Raiders stitched together a late third-quarter drive that bled into the fourth, capping a 10-play, 38-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
Patterson fumbled on its next possession, and a Central Catholic player fell on the loose ball at its 32.
The Raiders took just five plays to score the last touchdown of the night.
“This part of the season is over. Next week, we’re 0-0,” Lopes told his teammates as they huddled at midfield following the loss to Central Catholic. “Our goal is to wake up next Saturday and be 1-0.”
No. 8-seed Patterson will host Benicia High, a No. 9 seed, on Friday, Nov. 9, in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
Benicia (7-3) finished with a 3-2 record in the Solano County Athletic Conference.
Game time is slated for 7 p.m. at Patterson Community Stadium, Ward and Salado avenues.
Central Catholic made quick work of the JV Tigers, scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions and rolling to a 41-7 victory Friday at Patterson Community Stadium.
The Tigers (7-3, 4-2 WAC), meanwhile, punted or turned over the ball on four of their five first-half drives.
“Overall, this whole season was a success. We have a lot of talented kids,” said Patterson coach Harley Parson. “But we can’t turn the ball over and expect to win. It doesn’t work that way.”
Patterson fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage, and the Raiders capitalized.
Central Catholic moved 26 yards on four plays on its first possession of the game, capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass with 7:49 left in the first quarter.
After the Raiders defense intercepted a throw by Demarrio Hammonds, Central Catholic added a 21-yard touchdown run and a 2-point conversion to conclude a four-play, 35-yard drive with 3:03 left in the opening frame.
On the ensuing possession, Patterson was forced to punt and Central Catholic advanced 59 yards on five plays before a Raider back bulled into the end zone from one yard out, upping the lead to 21-0.
The Tigers had 4th-and-goal from the Raider 2-yard line until another interception ended the play.
Patterson built some momentum before halftime, but kicker Alex Gebbing was wide left on a 47-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half.
“We worked all week at practice, and we had a game plan,” Parson said. “We just did not execute when we needed to.”
Central Catholic stormed 57 yards on 10 plays on its first series after the intermission, capped by a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 27-0.
The Tigers compiled a late third-quarter drive that carried into the fourth. But on 4th-and-5 from the Raiders 12, the possession again stalled and they turned the ball over on downs.
With 6:07 remaining in the fourth, the Raiders added a 49-yard touchdown tear, pushing the lead to 34 points.
On the ensuing touch, Patterson went three-and-out and Central Catholic took over at Patterson’s 34.
From there, Central Catholic took just four plays to send a back trotting across the goal line from 11 yards out.
The Tigers finally got on the scoreboard with 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter, when Michael Lawson sprinted 43 yards for a touchdown.
“There’s a lot of potential on this team and several players who are ready to make the move up to varsity,” Parson said. “We have a lot of guys who want to play football and enjoy being out here.”
The Patterson High freshman football team (8-2, 4-2) took a loss in its final game of the season, falling to Central Catholic 39-6 at David Patton Field on Thursday, Nov. 1.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.