With the distraction of homecoming and star running back David Walker nursing an ankle injury on the sideline, Los Banos High went to work and shut out the high-flying Ceres offense with a 52-0 win Friday.
“(The shutout) means a lot to me,” said Los Banos middle linebacker Darren Baty, the leader of the defense. “We work real hard at practice to do just that, and it makes us feel good.”
Ceres quarterback Brad Bussard, who entered the game with 1,452 passing yards, completed 16 of 33 passes for 121 yards. He also tossed two interceptions, both to Los Banos defensive back Gilbert Fuentes. The Bulldogs finished with just 11 rushing yards. Ceres got to the Los Banos 30-yard line only twice, with one drive ending in an interception and the other on a failed fourth-down conversion.
Walker, who had almost 500 yards through the Tigers’ four-game nonleague slate, was replaced for the night by senior Ra’Shawn Stanford, and the Tigers’ running game didn’t miss a beat. Stanford finished with 164 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
“We had good practices this week, we really had good rhythm together,” offensive guard Michael Severino said. “We knew what we were doing, and a lot of down blocks make it easy on a lot of the line, just trying to get Ray-Ray the ball, get him a couple of touchdowns.”
Fullback Daniel Fernandez found the end zone twice, and Los Banos quarterback Loggan Pimentel tossed two touchdowns — the first to wideout Tyler Cicairos on the game’s third play from scrimmage after Los Banos surprised the Bulldogs with an onside kick.
“Again, we haven’t stopped anybody all year,” Ceres coach Brad Durossette said. “We just have to go back and get ready. We’ve got Livingston at home next week, and it’s homecoming, which is a distraction. But my hat goes off to Dustin (Caropreso, Los Banos coach), they have a good football team.”
Caropreso, whose team has a bye next week before taking on Central Catholic on Oct. 11, didn’t quite know what to expect when he made the decision to hold Walker out. But he was pleased with the results.
“We try to tell our guys we expect the same out of all our guys, no matter if you’re a 1 or a 2, you’re supposed to know exactly what to do,” the second-year coach said. “And he performed tonight.
“He’s been challenged all year, and he gets a few carries, and I’m glad for him. It’s so enjoyable to see a guy like that get to step in there and take care of business.”