If ever there was a game that would boost a team’s confidence, Pacheco’s 61-7 over McNair on Friday would do the trick. The Panthers set a number of new school records in the win.
“Rushing records, point records, touchdowns in a game. That was the ones I can think of off the top of my head,” Pacheco coach David Snapp said. “We’ve thrown for more yards in a game, not by much.”
Pacheco scored early and often in the win, with running back Frank Ginda punching in four rushing touchdowns during his 17-carry, 117-yard night, and adding a receiving touchdown. Others got in the act as well, with Ricky Lopez, Carlos Garcia and Jared Hernandez each scoring a rushing touchdown. Quarterback Juwan Epperson added 194 passing yards and two touchdowns.
“McNair’s got some internal issues they’re struggling with. They lost their quarterback in the first game, he blew his knee out,” Snapp said. “They’re struggling with an identity, and I think their kids have turned into it’s more about me than the team. That contributed to our score for sure.
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“They still have athletes, but they only had 30 guys, and they had guys in our game getting hurt. You eventually run out of bullets.”
Tonight, the Panthers travel to Central Valley to face a team that has fewer bullets than it did a few nights ago after school administrators suspended 12 players – including five starters – following a fight in Friday’s win over Madera South. Two were was ejected for fighting on a point-after attempt, and 12 were suspended for leaving the bench after school officials viewed game film.
“We just feel like the integrity of the athletic program and the school is most important here,” said CV’s first-year athletic director Greg Magni, who, along with principal Amy Peterman, talked with The Modesto Bee on Wednesday via conference call. “The players all understand that and, to a man, they’ve all apologized.”
Magni believes that most of the players who left the sideline were merely attempting to restore order. According to Snapp, the suspensions can be a double-edged sword from the Pacheco perspective.
“If we go up there and play like we can and get the win, they’ll have an excuse,” Snapp said. “But if they turn around and win, it can galvanize them for the rest of the season. It’s got to hurt not having some of your starters, but that happens with injuries too. Like we always say, it’s the next man up, and you can’t expect a drop-off.”
CV’s record-chasing running back, senior Ja’Quan Gardner, is not one of the suspended players.
“He’s the focal point for them, but they have a couple of other guys they like to get the ball in their hands,” Snapp said. “If we focus on one of them, the other two can hurt us. He’s going to get his, but if we can limit his destruction we’ll be good.”
The game will have an impact on how the league race shakes out, since both Central Valley (3-1) and Pacheco (3-1) are expected to play a major role in the league’s playoff scenarios.