Dos Palos celebrates Westside War win over Los Banos
Dos Palos senior receiver Zane Merrell is a matchup nightmare. At 6-foot-4, he looks like Kevin Durant running down the field against smaller defensive backs.
Los Banos didn’t have an answer for Merrell on Friday night as the senior hauled in four passes for 195 yards, including two touchdowns of 52 and 59 yards as Dos Palos snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 40-35 win over the Tigers in the Westside War at Loftin Stadium.
As his teammates celebrated around him, Merrell dropped to his knees in the end zone after the game. He was exhausted after playing offense, defense and special teams all night.
“This win is a season-setter in a way,” Merrell said. “I know I haven’t been that team since fifth grade. This is the biggest win of my life.”
The Broncos battled back from a 13-0 deficit in the first quarter with a new high-powered aerial assault led by Merrell and sophomore quarterback Trent Calvert.
Calvert completed 12 of 17 passes for 233 yards and the two scores.
The Broncos, who hold a 43-32-6 all-time lead in the rivalry, were able to run the ball when needed. Reserve running back Ryan Ramirez came up big with 107 rushing yards and three touchdowns, including a go-ahead 1-yard plunge that gave the Broncos a 40-35 lead with 26 seconds left in the game.
It was a tough loss to swallow for Los Banos, which had jumped out to a 13-0 lead. The Tigers were led by receiver Landon Ramos, who caught six balls for 134 yards and a touchdown and running back Justin Incaprera, who carried the ball 14 times for 123 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown.
“We talked about all week about adversity and not getting down,” said Dos Palos coach Rob Calvert. “Not everything is going to go your way and when things got tough, we found a way to win. We found a way to get stops on defense.”
Merced 13, Del Campo 6 in Merced – Desmond Thompson turned his first touch of the season into a 39-yard touchdown. The Bears later turned a blocked punt into a short touchdown late in the first half.
The Merced defense held the Cougars scoreless in the second half to preserve the victory.
Atwater 30, West 7 in Atwater – The Falcons showed their-big play ability in a season-opening win. Charles Jackson broke free for a 55-yard touchdown. Both Atwater quarterbacks contributed with Julius Peacock connecting with Nathan Knight on a 34-yard touchdown and Anthony Diaz scoring on a 14-yard run.
Sophomore running back James Thomas added the other Falcons touchdown on a 1-yard run.
Livermore 21, Golden Valley 14 in Livermore – Avery Townsel returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to pull the Cougars even just before half, but Golden Valley went scoreless in the final two quarters.
Sophomore Jabari Phillips opened the scoring for Golden Valley on a 4-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Pacheco 36, El Capitan 0 in Merced – The Panthers won in dominant fashion in the debut for new Pacheco head coach Jeremy Siemiller.
Dom Gomez and Mauro Rodriguez gave Pacheco a 14-0 lead at the half with touchdown runs. The Panthers then turned it up offensively in the second half.
El Capitan lost its 16th consecutive game.
Chowchilla 27, Fresno 12 in Chowchilla – The Tribe overcame an early 12-0 deficit in the first quarter.
Senior Jaylinn Gaines, who was moved from tight end to running back just last week, helped lead the comeback with 67 yards and two touchdowns. Bobby Faddis added 93 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
“I was really impressed with Jaylinn Gaines leadership that he showed,” said Chowchilla coach Alex Pittz. “He really sparked us coming in and running the ball and playing middle linebacker.”
Hilmar 56, Delhi 0 in Hilmar – The matchup between a defending state champion and a team coming off an 0-10 season played out as expected.
Cole Bailey scored two touchdowns for Hilmar and quarterback Seth Miguel threw two scoring strikes in his first start for the Yellowjackets. Delhi was limited to just 76 yards of offense.
Livingston 34, Le Grand 21 in Livingston – Celso Sanchez came up big on defense for the Wolves, recording 11 tackles and returned a fumble 82 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Tyler Garcia added two rushing touchdowns and a big night on the ground. Rocklin Baptista tossed two touchdowns for Livingston.
Running back Gemini Lopez scored two touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
Mariposa 30, Summerville 24 in Tuolomne – The Grizzlies battled back from an early 14-3 deficit to take a 30-14 lead in the second half. Mariposa was able to hold off the Bears to open the season with a win.
Vacaville Christian 31, Stone Ridge Christian 15 in Atwater – Kayden Silviera and Enam Davis-Eva scored rushing touchdowns for the Knights, who were plagued with turnovers and penalties early.