The Buhach Colony High football team doesn’t throw the ball often. Starting quarterback Oscar Smallwood only attempted 15 passes in the Thunder’s first four games.
With a large stable of running backs, the team would prefer to ground and pound its way to victory.
Smallwood delivered some big passes in the second half on Friday night, including a pair of third-quarter touchdown throws to Trey Paster, as Buhach Colony pulled away for a 37-21 win over Patterson in a Central California Conference showdown at the Patterson Community Stadium.
“Our specialty is running the ball, but I thought we made some crucial passes on third down,” said Buhach Colony coach Kevin Navarra, whose team improved to 5-0. “Oscar found Trey Paster a couple times and Samari Russo a couple times. Those plays were a big difference for us.”
Both teams survived a sloppy first half that saw Buhach Colony and Patterson combine for six turnovers.
The Tigers (3-2 overall, 0-1 CCC) hurt the Thunder with their ground game early as Jordan Imada scored on touchdown runs of 13 and 75 yards to give Patterson a 14-8 lead in the second quarter. Imada rushed for 138 of his 140 yards in the first half.
Buhach Colony responded when Youlas Dickson returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to quickly put the Thunder ahead 16-14 with 8:42 left in the first half. Dickson has returned three kickoffs and three punts for touchdowns in five games.
Buhach Colony’s depth and physicality took over in the second half.
The Thunder defense held Patterson without a first down in the second half until there were less than 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Tigers went three-and-out on their first three drives and the fourth drive ended with quarterback Logan McCleery tackled in the end zone for a safety.
“We just got worn down,” said Patterson coach Rob Cozart. “That’s a good, physical football team. They have a lot of depth. We just don’t have the numbers. We suit up 30 guys. They damn near have that many coaches.”
Meanwhile, the Thunder offense hit Patterson with some big plays in the passing game as Paster, who verbally committed to Cal before the season, hauled in touchdown catches of 63 and 14 yards.
“We put the ball on the ground a couple times in the first half,” said Paster, who had four catches for 100 yards and added 58 rushing yards and a third touchdown. “It was really just a mindset thing. As players, we knew what we needed to do. We had to execute. We had to come out and play hard and fast.”
Merced 28, Central Valley 0 in Merced — The Bears (2-3, 1-0 CCC) celebrated their homecoming with a shutout win over the Hawks. Senior Desmond Thompson scored three rushing touchdowns.
Jeremiah Robinson had two interceptions for the Bears and Deandre Younker added another touchdown.
Atwater 48, El Capitan 0 in Atwater — Julius Peacock connected on touchdown passes to Nathan Knight and Xavier Williams and also added two touchdown runs as the Falcons celebrated their homecoming with a win in the CCC opener against the Gauchos.
Charles Jackson, Isaiah Zamora and Anthony Diaz all added touchdown runs for Atwater (4-1, 1-0 CCC).
Livingston 35, Hughson 27 in Hughson — The Wolves (4-1) opened Trans-Valley League play with a big upset victory over the Huskies. Senior Donovan Brown sealed the victory with an interception deep in Wolves territory late in the game.
Sophomore quarterback Rocklin Baptista threw for five touchdowns to lead Livingston, including two touchdowns to Brown and two touchdowns to Cooper Winton, who finished with nine catches for 242 yards.
Baptista completed 19 of 30 passes for 344 yards.
Dos Palos 42, Chowchilla 7 in Dos Palos — The Broncos snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Tribe.
Broncos senior receiver Zane Merrell had a monster performance with six catches for 194 yards and four touchdowns for the Broncos (4-1). Dos Palos sophomore Trent Calvert completed 10 of 18 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns.
It was Dos Palos’ first win over Chowchilla since 2010.
Denair 20, Le Grand 12 in Denair —The Bulldogs cut a 20-point halftime deficit to 20-12 in the third quarter, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Michael Dinkins scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Martinez for Le Grand’s first third-quarter touchdown. Josh Maldonado added an 8-yard touchdown run for the Bulldogs (2-2, 0-1 Southern League).
Dylan De Silva scored two touchdowns for Denair (3-1, 1-0 SL).
Stone Ridge Christian 13, Andrew Hill 6 in San Jose — Riley Acree completed 12 of 20 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown for the Knights (2-3). The SRC defense played well, limiting the Falcons to just 92 yards of total offense.
Stone Ridge Christian freshman Noah Lund sealed the win with a sack as time expired.
Beyer 14, Los Banos 7 in Los Banos — Behind a strong defensive effort, Beyer (1-0, 2-2) won its first Western Athletic Conference game with a 14-7 win at Los Banos (0-1, 0-4).
Los Banos had the ball Patriots’ territory with under a minute left but turned the ball over. The Tigers also had 1st-and-goal from Beyer’s 8-yard line early in the second quarter but couldn’t score.
Gustine 24, Delhi 0 in Delhi — Christopher Meneses ran back the opening kickoff 90 yards as the Reds (1-3, 1-0 SL) won their first game fo the year. Meneses added an 11 yard touchdown run later in the game and Bradley Garbez led the Gustine defense with two sacks.
Mariposa 7, Orestimba 6