And then Patterson reminded everyone why it wasn't going to happen. The Tigers finally ascended in the second half and claimed a 28-19 victory over the Kimball Jaguars on Friday, Sept. 6 at Don Nicholson Stadium.
"Our intensity in the second half was ten times higher than the first half," said Patterson coach Nick Marchy. "We knew that we came out flat. At halftime, we went (into the locker room), got a little pumped up in there, and came out and played more aggressively on both sides of the ball."
Patterson (2-0) abandoned its plodding, run-anchored offense in the first half for a more urgent, vertical passing attack after Kimball grabbed a 13-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Trailing 19-7 at halftime, the Tigers regrouped to score 21 unanswered points after the intermission, to gain the lead for good.
Patterson junior Damien Paulo completed 13-of-22 passes for 216 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 40 yards on seven carries as well. Senior Brandon Williams caught five passes for 137 yards and two scores, while classmate Jordan Levu also added a pair of TD catches.
"In the second half, we just started to make plays. It was as simple as that," Paulo said. "After some of that frustration went away, that's when things began to click (on the field). We knew that we had to come back."
Both teams' offenses were sluggish to start the game.
But with six minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, the Jaguars (0-1) took immediate advantage of excellent field position, after Patterson's center botched the exchange with Paulo on back-to-back snaps.
At the Tigers’ 10-yard line, Kimball quarterback Ben Juarez then orchestrated a quick four-play drive that was capped off by a 11-yard touchdown pass to Dominique Dixon, to take the early edge.
Patterson went three-and-out on its next possession, and the Jaguars found the end zone eight plays later when Juarez connected with Mohammed Khan on a 42-yard toss, and Gaige Allen followed with a 5-yard touchdown run for a 13-0 lead.
Facing 2nd-and-12 from the Jaguars 45 with 8:40 left in the second quarter, the Tigers cracked the scoreboard when Paulo fired the ball to Williams, who raced up the left sideline to the end zone.
Kimball moved 75 yards on four plays on its next possession of the game, capped by a 48-yard touchdown run by Damon Jackson with 7:11 left in the first half.
However, the second half was a different story.
The Tiger offense asserted itself slowly as the game wore on, and Patterson's defense harassed the opposition’s quarterback, making sure the passer was never comfortable standing in the pocket.
The surge began on the Tigers’ second possession of the half, when a pair of receptions by Williams and senior Avion Warmsley set up Paulo's 3-yard jump-ball touchdown pass to Levu with 7:18 left in the third, clipping the deficit to 19-14.
"We arrived at this school with our heads still in (last week's win) against Johansen. Because of that, (Kimball) was able to get to us in the first half," Levu said. "But we overcame that adversity. Our team leaders were telling us to pick it up, and get everything together. We basically just flushed everything from the first half, and looked at the second half as a 0-0 ball game."
With 4:05 left in the third, Patterson continued to seize momentum when Williams returned an interception to the Kimball 26. Three plays later, Paulo scrambled to his right, and hit Williams for a 23-yard TD, putting the Tigers up 21-19.
The Patterson defense then held for a three-and-out series, and Kimball had a 15-yard shanked punt against the Tigers when it appeared it was aiming for the sideline.
On the ensuing possession, Paulo found Williams for a 20-yard grab along the sideline, and then threaded the needle on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Levu.
"We are going to have to come out with the same intensity we had in the second half at the start of each game," Marchy said. "We cannot afford to come out flat against better teams. We have to be on top and at our best the entire game."
The Tigers will continue their season at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, when they host Modesto’s Grace Davis High.
Tied 14-14 at the half, the JV Tigers dominated the final two quarters during Friday's 35-14 win over the Kimball Jaguars at Don Nicholson Stadium.
"We intend to keep working and to practice as hard as we can," said Patterson sophomore Nicholaus Priester. "Once we get ourselves motivated on the practice field, we do really good in the games."
Deadlocked after 20 minutes of play, a fumble recovery by Tarrant Tupuola on Kimball's opening drive of the second half set the tone for Patterson (2-0).
Two plays later, Tiger Michael Lawson (191 yards) took the handoff from Kevin Todd and went up the middle, but he had to bounce the ball outside to the left because there was nowhere to run. The sophomore darted through what looked like the entire Kimball defense and took the ball 63 yards for a touchdown.
The Jaguars went three-and-out on their next possession, and Patterson found the end zone 12 plays later when sophomore Antoine Bostic took another Todd handoff and scampered 8 yards for a score.
Sophomore Alec Espos intercepted his second pass of the evening on Kimball’s next possession, returning the ball 75 yards for a touchdown, and providing the final margin of victory.
"How we played in the second half of the game, is how we should execute the whole time," Espos said. "Our run game has helped us a lot. But as the season progresses, all the other parts of our game will get better."
On a night when Patterson got few contributions early from its skill position players on offense, its special teams helped pick up the slack.
With 1:48 left in the opening quarter, Priester recovered the football for a touchdown after teammate Thomas Turner blocked a Jaguars' punt attempt.
Kimball (0-1) answered Patterson's score quickly as it returned the ensuing kickoff 79 yards for a TD.
Patterson immediately responded with a touchdown drive of its own.
Priester found himself all alone in the Jaguars’ secondary as he hauled in a 24-yard touchdown strike from Todd that made the score 14-8 with 9:56 remaining in the second period.
Kimball later tied the game 14-14 on a 28-yard scoring pass and a 2-point conversion.
But the home team's momentum was short-lived, and Patterson proceeded to use the remaining 20 minutes to reel off 21 unanswered points.
"I think that if we play our best, we can go pretty far (this season)," Priester said. "We just need to keep getting better."
John Guevarra had four interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown, as Patterson's freshman football team earned a 12-6 victory over visiting Kimball on Thursday, Sept. 5.
"We need to keep working and improving," said Patterson coach Bill Chastain. "Though the players did better this week (than at last week's season-opening loss against Johansen), we still have some work to do to become a better overall team."
Three of Guevarra's interceptions came in the game's opening 20 minutes, providing the biggest contribution in the Tigers' superb defensive performance before a large crowd at Patterson Community Stadium.
Patterson quarterback Jonathan Pimentel added a 60-yard scoring pass to Douglas Franz.
Anchored by Dan Valverde and Demetri Carrazales, the Tiger defense has allowed just one touchdown in each of the team's first two games of the 2013 campaign.
"The defense is doing well. And I am very happy with the improvement I saw on offense from the last two weeks, but we have a lot more to do," Chastain said.
Patterson (1-1) will continue its season at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, when it hosts Escalon High.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.