Patterson came to town undefeated, and left town undefeated. Tonight, Los Banos High football is hoping to make sure Livingston doesn’t leave town with a win as well.
“The kids’ morale is up a little but. We’re in a funk right now, but they’re not showing it at practice,” Los Banos coach Dustin Caropreso said. “It’s huge. We want to get back on the winning streak, and get a win back in our column so the kids feel rejuvenated.”
The Tigers are also trying to get healthy. Two sophomore players – receiver/defensive back Adam Herrera and fullback/defensive lineman Daniel Fernandez – missed the Patterson game, and sophomore running back David Walker sat most of the second half after tweaking an ankle that was injured earlier in the season. Caropreso said Herrera and Fernandez should return to the field tonight, while Walker is a game-time decision.
Livingston is dead last in the Western Athletic Conference this year at 1-7 (0-4 in league), but coach Chris Lacey’s reputation for trickery has the Tigers working on their special teams during practice this week.
“Any given Friday, anything can happen,” Caropreso said. “They’re going to do their stuff. They’re going to fake punt and things like that, so we’re going to pend a lot of time on special teams against them, and they’re going to compete. It doesn’t matter what their record might me, they’re going to play.”
On Friday, Los Banos took a 4-point deficit into halftime against undefeated Patterson and didn’t score another point. Walker took to the bench to nurse his ankle, but finished with 135 yards on 22 carries. Quarterback Loggan Pimentel tossed four interceptions.
“We need a little swagger on the offensive side, and right now we don’t have it. We want to get some of that back against Livingston, then we’ve got Central Valley and Pacheco,” Caropreso said. “That’s where, as a football player, where you want to be, is playing for something at the end of the season. We want to win at least two out of three, so we can get to 6-4 so the selection committee isn’t weighing opponent wins.”
After Walker scored a touchdown on a drive where he accounted for all 81 yards, the Tigers slowed on the ground as well.
“But they didn’t change anything. They ran the same defense. We just didn’t stay on blocks,” Caropreso said. “They know we can’t throw the ball when you throw two or three picks in the first half. We have to figure out how to get the passing game going and open that up a little bit.”
Livingston comes into the game on a six-game losing streak, with the last two coming 55-8 to Pacheco and 41-8 to Central Valley.
“We told the kids – win two out of three and you’re in the playoffs,” Caropreso said. “Win three out of three and you’re in the playoffs with a better record.”