Pacheco High might as well gift-wrap its 54-20 loss to Christian Brothers in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 football playoffs and put it under the tree, because it was an early Christmas present.
The Panthers gave Christian Brothers four turnovers in the first half, coughing up fumbles on their first three drives.
“I like to think our defense had something to do with that, whether it’s stripping the ball or doing what they’re supposed to do,” Christian Brothers coach George Petrissans said. “I don’t want to take anything away from them. And I don’t want to take anything away from Pacheco – that’s a strong team, and they’re well coached.”
The win was CB’s first playoff win since 1986. Petrissans said earlier in the week that the program’s 12-game playoff losing streak since didn’t weigh too heavily on this team.
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“I lied,” he said. “All I can say is I’m so proud of these boys. It all started in January.”
It was the second straight first-round exit for Pacheco, in just its third season.
“We had our ups and downs,” Pacheco coach David Snapp said. “I’m proud of where we are as a program after three years. Other than tonight, we were in every game this season. We were 12 points away from being 10-0.”
Pacheco’s first three drives ended in a Frank Ginda fumble (after two plays), another Ginda fumble (after seven plays) and an Oscar Ochoa fumble (after four plays). This came after CB opened the game with a 79-yard halfback pass from Mason Stahley to Erik Bloomquist.
Pacheco trailed 27-0 after the first quarter. After getting on the board with a 2-yard Librado Velasquez plunge, Pacheco gave up the ball again, this time when Ryan McGee intercepted a Juwan Epperson pass and ran it 45 yards for a touchdown.
“(Turnovers have) been a problem the last three weeks,” Snapp said. “I don’t know where it came from, but it was the difference in the game. They had two defensive scores off of turnovers. Once we settled down we were able to move the ball.”
Ginda held on to the ball long enough to add a second-quarter touchdown, and Anthony Gonzalez added another for the Panthers late in the fourth quarter.
CB quarterback Chris Guillen had a field day, completing 13 of 21 passes for 236 yards – with 87 of them going to 6-foot-6 tight end Hayden Jones – and also put up 80 yards on the ground.