MODESTO — Atwater High water polo coaches feel Brody Patterson is the ultimate mismatch for opponents in the pool.
When you see his 6-foot-9 wingspan you know why.
Patterson disrupts passing lanes and can pressure players, forcing opponents to find strange angles to deliver passes. Patterson can also make an impact on offense like he did on Saturday, scoring two big goals to lift the Falcons to a 10-7 win over Tokay in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs at Johansen High.
The Falcons advance to the quarterfinals today against Lodi at Tokay at 3 p.m. The Flames defeated Atwater by one goal in overtime earlier this season.
"This is huge for us," Patterson said. "We haven't done this in about 10 years. It's a big deal. Hopefully we're just getting started."
Against Tokay, Patterson knew he had to be more aggressive on offense when Atwater (26-5) lost Jordan Esparza to a third ejection midway through the second quarter.
"When a guy like that goes out I have to get involved more offensively," said Patterson, who also had three steals. "I have to take some shots from the perimeter I normally wouldn't take."
Both of Patterson's goals came in the second half to help the Falcons pull away from Tokay (18-10).
The game was tight early as both teams were tied 3-3 after the first quarter. The Falcons started taking control of the game when they eliminated the transition goals for Tokay.
Josh Heller scored on a penalty shot with 1:25 left in the second quarter to give Atwater a 4-3 lead at the half. Heller scored five goals.
"Playing them for a third time really helped," said Atwater coach David Svendsen. "We had an idea of what they wanted to do. They wanted to beat us in transition. If we stopped their transition we knew we could take away their 2-meter guy."
The Falcons held the Tigers to just two transition goals in the second half. Atwater goalie Corbett McDaniel was a big reason why as he came up with some big shots on break-away opportunities for Tokay. McDaniel finished with 13 saves.
Meanwhile, the Falcons offense went to work.
Heller scored again on a penalty shot with 4:41 left in the third quarter. Mitchell Moreda scored on an assist from Patterson to extend the lead to 6-3 on the Falcons' next possession.
Atwater built the lead as high as 10-6 midway through the fourth quarter on Heller's fifth goal of the game. Hans van Warmerdam added two goals and four steals and Ben Peterson chipped in with three assists.
ANGELS CAMP Golden Valley's Mariyah Banks led a parade of local runners who qualified for this week's Sac-Joaquin Section Cross Country Championships by qualifying at sub-sections on Saturday.
Banks finished seventh in the Division 1 race with a time of 20 minutes, 16 seconds.
In the Division 2 race, Atwater's Jacqueline Magana advanced to next week with a time of 21:36. The Livingston girls advanced as a team in the Division 4 race with the help of Edith Gonzalez (22:28) and Mireya Muniz (22:31).
On the boys side, Merced's Abel Abraham finished 14th in the Division 1 race with a time of 17:06 to advance to sections. He'll be joined by teammate Daniel Ambriz (17:34).
Hilmar's Kenzye Spears (17:24), Los Banos' Christian Beltran (17:57) and Livingston's Ismael Bucio (18:20) all advanced in the Division 4 race.
Shawn Jansen can be reached at (209) 345-2462 or firstname.lastname@example.org.