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Modesto football misfires twice late, Los Banos battles back for win

Gene Lieb/Los Banos Enterprise
Los Banos Athletic Director Gary Caropreso, left, gives head coach Dennis Stubbs a hug after the game.
Gene Lieb/Los Banos Enterprise Los Banos Athletic Director Gary Caropreso, left, gives head coach Dennis Stubbs a hug after the game. Los Banos Enterprise

LOS BANOS -- Los Banos saved the play for the right time.

Needing a touchdown in overtime, Los Banos put the ball in Erik Martin's hands on a naked bootleg.

Martin faked the handoff to running back Darron Brown and sprinted around the left end, where he found Modesto cornerback Andre Barry standing between himself and the end zone.

"I made a move on their cornerback and I saw the yellow pylon," Martin said. "I just dove for it, trying to score the touchdown."

Martin's touchdown tied the game at 26-26 and Freddie Romero's extra point set off a wild celebration, as Los Banos survived a 27-26 overtime win in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs at Loftin Stadium on Friday night.

"We don't quit," said Los Banos head coach Dennis Stubbs, whose team will face top-seeded Tracy in the second round next week.

"Even after Erik throws the interception and it looks like it's over, we just battled."

Indeed, it did look bleak for Stubbs' boys moments earlier.

Los Banos (8-3) had just watched Modesto march down the field to tie the game at 20-20 with less than three minutes left in the game.

Seconds later, Barry stepped in front of Los Banos receiver Max Ornelas to intercept a Martin pass and would have scored a 37-yard touchdown if Martin hadn't tackled the Modesto cornerback on the 4-yard line.

With just 1:58 left on the clock, Modesto (7-4) appeared to be in position to win the game.

Then things fell apart.

A holding penalty and two procedure calls later, Modesto found itself settling for a 28-yard field goal attempt at the end of regulation.

When Jesus Ontiveros' kick missed wide left, Los Banos went crazy, knowing its season was still alive with the game heading into overtime.

"The interception was killing me," Martin said. "Our defense had played good all night. I knew they would stop them and give me a second chance."

Modesto had the ball first in the overtime and scored on the first play as running back James Ingram took a pitch and scored on a 10-yard run.

However, Ontiveros missed the extra-point kick. Again, it was wide left.

That set the stage for Martin, who scored his third rushing touchdown of the game.

"All night we saved Erik's keeper," Stubbs said. "We saved it for the right time."

The wild ending made up for some costly Los Banos mistakes early.

Modesto stormed out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.

The first score came when Barry took the ball out of the hands of LB cornerback Dylan Marques and turned a near interception into a 48-yard touchdown catch.

"I think I just jumped too soon," Marques said. "He had good position. He was right behind me and just took the ball out of my hands."

Los Banos gift-wrapped Modesto's second touchdown when a bad snap sailed over the head of punter Greg Williams and set up the Modesto offense at Los Banos' 2-yard line.

"I think we spotted them 13 points," Stubbs said. "It's tough to come back in the playoffs when you spot a team 13 points."

Los Banos just kept feeding the ball to Brown, who did most of the dirty work as he racked up 140 yards on 29 carries.

Martin scored on a 1-yard run and found Ornelas for a 23-yard touchdown pass to give LB a 14-13 lead at the half.

Martin added another 1-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter before things got crazy.

Now, Los Banos will play an undefeated Tracy team that edged Los Banos 27-24 in week two.

"It's a great feeling, but we've got more games to win," Martin said. "We want to win three more and Tracy's next."

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