The debut of Los Banos’ new spread offense didn’t go as the Tigers planned in a 37-7 loss to Madera, a Division III school out of the Central Section.
Los Banos managed 128 yards of total offense, with quarterback Adam Herrera completing 5 of 16 passes for 53 yards and a pair of interceptions.
“Our O-line pass protected halfway decent, and they played a (tough) defense,” Los Banos coach Dustin Caropreso said. “They told us when they came out and put two guys in the box, no safety, you’re going to have to throw it to beat us. And we knew that. And we just couldn’t complete some passes.
“It’s a learning experience.”
Madera receiver Kris Bueno, meanwhile, torched the Tiger defense with eight catches for 157 of quarterback Nathaniel Nelson’s 239 passing yards and two touchdowns. Madera coach Bonner Cunnings said Bueno, a junior, has worked with Nelson since joining the varsity team as a sophomore.
“We pulled Kristopher up as a sophomore because he’s a Division I prospect. Fresno State’s looking at him,” Cunnings said. “But now that he’s a junior, he’s playing corner as well.”
Madera’s 4-6 Bear defense disrupted the LB receivers at the line, and the inexperienced Herrera missed a few open receivers as well.
“We’re running man coverage. We’re in the CMAC with Edison and Bullard and Sanger, and it’s real difficult,” Cunnings said. “So we play real aggressive on defense and try to get it back to our offense. They’ve got a real good team. We knew 35 (receiver David Walker) was an athlete and we knew their quarterback was an athlete, so we’re like, those two guys we’ve got to beat.”
Los Banos started the game well on defense, with linebacker Alec Barcellos recording a sack and an interception in the first three plays. But the Tiger offense fizzled, moving backward on its first drive and failing score on a drive that started on the Madera 15-yard line.
A Herrera interception led to a 13-play, 58-yard drive by Madera that culminated in a 5-yard scoring pass from Nelson to Bueno. Jesus Jimenez added a touchdown run early in the second quarter, and the Coyotes ground out another pair of scores in the third quarter.
Los Banos finally got on the board early in the fourth quarter on an 80-yard drive capped by a 5-yard Herrera run.
With Los Banos’ starting running back Daniel Fernandez sitting out due to section rules after being ejected from the last game of 2013, Herrera did the heavy lifting on the ground, carrying the ball 18 times for 48 yards. Michael Silva did what he could with his touches, carrying twice for 32 yards.
Eight Madera backs carried the ball, with Drew Johnson leading the pack at 8 carries and 59 yards. Johnson, Alec Gamboa and Pablo Villasana all scored rushing touchdowns for the Coyotes.
“That No. 19 (Bueno) is pretty good. That team is pretty good,” Caropreso said. “They’re going to win some games in that league over there, I tell you what. They’re a good football team, a physical football team, and that defense forces you to do things you don’t want to do.”
Pacheco beats Bear River
With the Bear River defense selling out to stop running back Kalama Kamoku, Pacheco quarterback Juwan Epperson took full advantage in a 35-29 victory over Bear River, tossing four touchdown passes and scoring the winning TD on his own with a 1-yard sneak.
Pacheco committed turnovers on its first two drives, with an Epperson interception followed by a fumble on the Bear River 1-yard line. Just like that, the Panthers trailed 14-0.
“We were down 14-0 early in the second quarter, and our defense didn’t understand the concept of playing team assignment defense,” Pacheco coach David Snapp said. “We settled down and did what we wanted to do on offense.”
Epperson threw a pair of touchdowns to tight end Frank Ginda in the second quarter, then hit Librado Velasquez and Jose Delacruz with one each in the third quarter. Epperson finished with 169 passing yards, and Kamoku added 112 yards on 22 carries.
“One thing that stuck out to me is the conditioning we did all summer really paid off for us,” Snapp said. “They were gassed at the end of the third quarter, and we were just getting started.”