With a Western Athletic Conference title, a perfect season and playoff positioning on the line in Friday night's game, Patterson left nothing to chance against the beleaguered Livingston Wolves.
The Tigers rode the strength of five passing touchdowns from quarterback Damien Paulo in the first half, including two apiece from Jordan Levu and Avion Warmsley, to build an impenetrable lead that propelled the team to a 42-15 victory.
"We had high expectations for ourselves going into this season, even if nobody else did. Everybody on the team wants (to win)," Paulo said. "It's crazy to be a part of what we're doing. We believe this year is ours."
The Patterson (9-0 overall, 5-0 WAC) triumph stretched its record for best start to a season in school history to nine in a row, as the local contingent prepares for a first-place showdown with the perennial league powerhouse Central Catholic Raiders of Modesto (8-1, 5-0).
"In the summertime, fighting together, working together, doing all that stuff in the weight room -- we're putting that to work now," Marchy said. "I know our kids believe in what we're doing, and hopefully we're making believers out of everybody else."
A crowd of die-hard Tiger fans at Livingston roared from the outset -- and had plenty of reasons.
Brandon Williams perfectly read Servando Ambriz's first pass of the night, jumped in front for an interception and returned it inside the Wolves' 40-yard line to set the Tigers on their way to an early score.
A pass interference penalty against Livingston (1-9, 0-6) set up Levu's 13-yard touchdown catch from Paulo with 9 minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter, and Patterson had a 7-0 lead.
In the only real drama of the contest, the Wolves answered with a time-churning 12-play drive that took nearly six minutes off the clock. Livingston back Jose Mejia capped the possession, hammering his way in from the 1 to tie the game at 7-7.
But this matchup wasn't close. It got out of hand quickly.
Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to the Livingston 30. Three plays later, Patterson would retake the lead on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Paulo to Warmsley.
After forcing a Livingston punt on the final play of the opening quarter, Patterson took over on its own 41.
With 11:24 left in the second frame, Williams' 31-yard scamper set the Tigers up at the Livingston 28. Two snaps later, Paulo feigned a handoff, made a pump fake and threw a 26-yard scoring toss to Williams, lifting Patterson to a 21-7 advantage.
The game continued to spiral out of control for the home team.
With 6:16 left before halftime, Patterson's Ruben Rosas blocked Livingston's 37-yard field goal attempt, scooped it up and raced 40 yards to the Wolves' 35.
Patterson made it 28-7 with a quick four play drive that ended with Paulo throwing a 13-yard dart to Warmsley, just behind the right front pylon.
Michael Campbell's interception with 38 seconds left in the second period gave the Tigers one more chance to put points on the board before the break.
Paulo later capped a one-play possession with a perfectly placed heave to Levu along the Livingston sideline from 45 yards out, to put Patterson ahead, 35-7, at the intermission.
Paulo opened the scoring in the third quarter with his sixth touchdown pass of the game, a short laser to Williams, who found himself in the clear on the right side and completed a 13-yard TD play. Alex Gebbing also converted his sixth extra point attempt of the contest, as the Tigers streaked to a 42-7 lead.
Livingston added its second touchdown and a 2-point conversion late in the fourth quarter against Patterson’s second string defense.
The Tigers will get their shot at an outright WAC title and an undefeated campaign when they travel to face Central Catholic on Friday, Nov. 8 at David Patton Field in Modesto.
"We have a lot of confidence right now. But we know that nothing is going to be easy," Marchy said. "No matter what happens, we go one play at a time. We need to keep moving the ball, focus on defense and keep doing our jobs."
The JV Tigers also moved within one game of an undefeated season with an impressive 47-0 romp over the Livingston Wolves Friday night.
Patterson (9-0, 5-0) walloped an overmatched Livingston defense both on the ground and through the air.
Antone Bostic ignited the sideline and sent the visiting crowd to its feet with an 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown at the start of the opening period.
Six plays later, on the Wolves' next series, Livingston's quarterback threw into the grasp of Patterson's Michael Lawson, setting the Tigers up at their own 26-yard line.
From there, the Patterson offense wasted little time in finding the end zone again. Four plays later, Alec Espos took a pass from Kevin Todd, broke a tackle and raced 61 yards to paydirt to put the Tigers up 13-0.
Lawson kept Patterson in front when he broke free for a 32-yard touchdown run on the final snap of the first quarter.
The Tigers defense forced a punt with 7:14 left in the second, and three plays later, Lawson took a handoff from Todd and weaved through the Livingston defense for a 35-yard TD scamper that stretched the lead to 27-0.
The Wolves hoped to answer on their ensuing drive, but on 3rd-and-15 at their own 35-yard line, Antonio Bustos intercepted a Livingston pass, and Patterson was back in business.
This time, Antoine Bostic tore off a 20-yard run, before Todd rammed his way through to the end zone on a 1-yard push to make it 34-0.
Patterson’s lead at halftime started a running clock in the third quarter.
On the Tigers' first series of the second half, Antone Bostic again displayed his elusiveness by dodging several tackles and zigzagging to the end zone on a 45-yard scoring dash.
With 6:25 remaining, Antone Bostic tallied his third TD, ripping his way up the hash marks for a 54-yard score, and capping the shutout victory for the Tigers.
Patterson’s next test comes Friday, Nov. 8, at David Patton Field, where the Tigers will battle the Central Catholic High Raiders of Modesto.
Livingston 14, Patterson 12
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.