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Under Pressure: For Los Banos, St. Mary's quarterback is the key

STOCKTON -- Dennis Stubbs knows at some point tonight, he's going to have to roll the dice.

The Los Banos coach has to send his troops after Stockton St. Mary's quarterback Cody Vaz.

"St. Mary's has a great receiver, a great receiving core and a great tailback," Stubbs said.

"But their quarterback is the key. In the two games they lost, he threw three picks in each game.

"We never came close to him the last time we played. We've got to mix things up and get somebody in his face.

"We're going to have to gamble some."

Slowing down the Oregon State-bound senior will be key as Los Banos (6-4) makes its first playoff appearance since 1998 tonight at St. Mary's (8-2).

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

"You can't imagine the excitement going around," Stubbs said. "I'm excited for our kids. People don't understand how long 10 years can be."

Stubbs says his guys have put the celebration of ending the playoff drought behind them and are now focused on winning.

St. Mary's defeated LB 51-38 earlier this season.

Los Banos saw first-hand, how Vaz can pick a defense apart.

The talented senior has racked up 2,411 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air.

Los Banos doesn't want to get into another shootout.

"Oh yeah, that's not to our advantage," Stubbs said. "They have a few more weapons than us.

"Last time, our defense didn't make them make enough plays. We gave up too many big plays."

Los Banos' best defense may be its running attack, which gets sophomore Darron Brown back.

Brown and Saul Zavala will shoulder the running game tonight. Brown, who has 816 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, missed the last two weeks with an ankle injury.

"Our goal is to do the same thing we were able to do against them last time," Stubbs said. "We want to use the clock, but we'll still take chances.

"We have to get the ball to our playmakers."

You can bet St. Mary's will be focused on receiver Rubal Sangha (1,105 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns) throughout the game.

"The best tool we have is that we've played them before," Stubbs said.

"We can look at things we did well and things we didn't. Of course, they can do the same thing.

"St. Mary's rolled right through their league without any problem. Hopefully, we can come out, keep it close and give ourselves a chance in the fourth quarter."

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