But that would not be the correct way to assess the Tigers' 4-1 loss to the Christian Brothers High Falcons on Thursday, Nov. 7, in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
Patterson coach Greg Hartsell and his athletes refused to solely blame the match officials for the loss, though some poor misses by the referees during play certainly did not hurt Christian Brothers' successful bid to advance to the D-III semifinals.
While the officiating Thursday might not have tilted the match one way or another, the lack of decisions in favor of Patterson (17-4-1 overall) seemingly impacted its chances of gaining some vital opportunities, since many crucial calls came down to the coin toss of referee whimsy.
Still, there is no arguing that Christian Brothers (13-3-4) was the more aggressive unit on offense in the first half.
The home team was rewarded for its play after just four minutes when Kristian Heptner, who recorded a hat trick against the Tigers, opened the scoring with a finish from inside the box.
Heptner held up the ball under the attention of Patterson defenders in the box before turning and teeing up a close-range blast he could hardly miss.
In the 16th minute, a Christian Brothers player was shown a yellow card after he slid into Patterson goalie Carlos Moreno, with his cleats showing studs.
With Moreno writhing in agony on the ground, Hartsell staunchly protested the call from the sideline, believing that a red card and an ejection should have resulted from the play.
Tensions boiled over with about 12 minutes remaining in the opening half, as players were involved in an on-the-field altercation that resulted in both parties being separated by members of the officiating staff.
According to Hartsell, the referee standing right on top of the scuffle, should have issued a red card to a Christian Brothers player, when a punch was allegedly thrown.
Minutes later, an official appeared to make the wrong decision to penalize Patterson's Osvaldo Barbosa for a crunching collision on a 50-50 ball with Christian Brothers' keeper, who came off his line to challenge.
Barbosa was issued a red card, which sent him off in the 31st minute, and Patterson was forced to play a man down for the remainder of the contest.
With about three minutes left before the break, Christian Brothers earned a corner kick inside the Patterson half. Joseph Delgadillo played a pinpoint cross with his boot, and it found the head of Heptner. The placement was perfect with the ball heading to the top of the net, leaving Moreno no chance.
The Hawks continued to attack and took a three-goal lead thanks to Elmer Lizarde. The home crowd erupted when Lizarde's right-footed roller found it's way into the lower corner of the net.
In the second half, the Tigers began to push forward out of the back looking to crack the scoreboard. They did it in the 42nd minute when Wilver Barajas headed the ball past Christian Brothers' goalie, on a ball served into the box from Marcos Meledez.
In the 66th minute, the Hawks' attack again broke through.
Moreno got a glove on Christian Brothers' corner kick to deflect it, but Heptner was there to tap the rebound into an open goal.
As the clock ran out on Patterson's season, the seniors, understandably, reacted the most.
Some players, still in their pads, wept on each other's shoulders, while others stared at the field in disbelief, barely speaking for the first few minutes after the match.
Amid all the anguish and gloom, Hartsell smiled as he hugged each athlete, applauding his team for its tenacity in the face of a huge deficit.
Hartsell, who brought home a section title for Patterson in 2009, rescinded his retirement plans for a year, deciding Thursday to return to the Tigers for a final season, his 11th.
He is returning for one reason: A chance to win it all again.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.