Jason Elenberger gave the Merced High defense fits all game.
The Jesuit quarterback did most of the damage out of the pocket with his legs and his arm as he passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more scores to lead the No. 12 seed Marauders to a 49-39 shootout win over No. 5 Merced in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs on Friday night at Veteran Stadium.
Elenberger completed 14 of 23 passes for 221 yards to go along with 125 yards on the ground. (See video)
(Jesuit) likes to pound you with those two backs and theyre both good, said Merced head coach Rob Scheidt. Theyre also big up front so you try to match that. Then with (Elenbergers) speed, he gets around the end quickly.
It was an offensive showcase as neither defense had much success. It was also a game that saw a lot of yellow flags with the two teams combining for 26 penalties for 233 yards.
Merced owned the odd quarters.
The Bears (8-3) looked unstoppable early as Tyrone Williams connected with A.J. Stewart and Travante Richard to help take a 14-6 lead after the first quarter. It was the first of three touchdown catches for Richard.
I think we thought we had the game after those first two scores, said Williams, who threw for a career-high five touchdowns. I could tell on the sideline.
Jesuit dominated the even quarters, outscoring Merced 22-0 in the second quarter to take a 28-14 lead at the half. Elenberger found Isaiah Bailey for a pair of touchdown passes in the second quarter.
The Bears had a chance to score right before the half when Frankie Roman intercepted a Elenberger pass and returned it to the Marauders 16-yard line. Jesuit quickly erased the scoring chance when Kent Presson made a diving interception on a pass intended for Richard, who was dragged down on the play by a Jesuit defender.
First of all, you have to see him getting grabbed, Scheidt said. Is right arm is being pulled the whole way. Second, the ball bounced. Neither referee confirmed the catch. I dont know how you can confirm a catch when neither one of them saw him catch it.
The Bears stormed back in the third quarter, with Richard hauling in two touchdowns and Jermon Cook scoring on a 1-yard plunge to pull within 35-33.
Jesuit sealed the game with a 92-yard scoring drive to start the fourth quarter. Ben Parietti capped the 12-play drive with a 12-yard touchdown catch that put the Marauders ahead 42-33 with 5:49 left.
This was a fun group to coach, Scheidt said. They really bought in to what were doing. They had a big mountain to climb with Buhach being a three-time champion. That was a monumental win for these guys. Going 5-0 in league is a credit to them.