Trailing by 20 points at halftime, the mood was not good in the Atwater High locker room. The Falcons were staring straight in the face of the possibility of opening Central California Conference play with a loss to a winless El Capitan team.
“We challenged our offensive line at the half,” said Atwater coach Seneca Ybarra. “They were also stealing some of our signs. I’m new at play calling, so we had to make some adjustments there in the second half.”
The Falcons responded with 30 consecutive points in the second half to surge in front and as they came back from three touchdowns down to defeat the Gauchos 38-34 at Stadium ’76.
The Falcons offensive line accepted the challenge as Atwater scored four rushing touchdowns in the second half, including three from Charles Jackson to pick up the victory.
“Once we got some momentum we were able to string some plays together,” Ybarra said.
The Gauchos (0-5) stormed in front in the first half as quarterback Kevin Reid threw two touchdowns, including a 13-yard strike to Ronnie Harris. Brian Matthews added an interception return for a touchdown in the first half for the Gauchos.
The Falcons had to overcome penalties and they were missing couple starters on both sides of the ball for disciplinary reasons. The El Capitan players also were calling out which Atwater players were getting the ball before the plays.
“The kids said they were calling out our plays,” Ybarra said. “They knew who was getting the ball. I’ve got to do a better job with our signals. Kudos to them, it’s part of the game.”
Robert Smith scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to star the second half to pull the Falcons (4-1 overall) within 26-16 in the third quarter.
Jackson then scored his three touchdowns to put Atwater ahead 38-26 with 11:54 left in the game.
The Gauchos’ Ethan Meza scored a touchdown to pull El Capitan with 38-34 with 7:48 left, but the Falcons were able to hold on.
Merced 52, Central Valley 6 in Ceres – Junior Garcia threw three first-half touchdowns to three different receivers as the Bears (5-0, 1-0 CCC) jumped out to a 45-0 lead at the half. Dhameer Warren returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown and added a 90-yard kickoff return for a score.
Pacheco 69, Johansen 6 in Los Banos – Julian Moran and Marcus Ordunez both scored two touchdowns on the ground in the first half as the Panthers (3-1, 1-0 Western Athletic Conference) jumped out to a 41-6 lead at the half.
Los Banos 26, Beyer 7 in Modesto – Lance Shelly scored on an 8-yard touchdown run and a 63-yard punt return to help the Tigers open WAC play with a win. The special teams got the scoring started for Los Banos (2-2) as Bryant Camp blocked a punt that resulted in a safety in the first quarter.
Quarterback Dasani Tate added a 29-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that gave the Tigers a 14-0 lead at the half.
Los Banos’ Adrian Atangan had a 4-yard touchdown run and recorded 10 tackles and two sacks on defense.
Chowchilla 41, Dos Palos 13 in Chowchilla – Tribe quarterback Cody Woolsey accounted for five touchdowns, including four touchdown passes Woolsey connected with Luciano Manzo on touchdown throws of 77 and 18 yards in the second quarter. Woolsey also hooked up with Jordan Hornbeak for two screen passes that went for touchdowns.
“We got back to us playing good, fundamental football,” said Chowchilla coach Alex Pittz. “We were a little outclassed last week (in a 48-0 loss to Central Valley Christian) and we compounded that by not playing well. We did a good job in the passing game this week. Cody did a great job throwing the ball. They were selling out to stop the run.”
Woolsey threw for 144 yards and added 77 yards on the ground, including a 10-yard touchdown run.
The Tribe (3-2) led Dos Palos 35-0 at the half.
Denair 41, Le Grand 21 in Le Grand – Steffin Winston hurt the Bulldogs with two big plays in the first quarter as he scored on a 59-yard run and a 92-yard kickoff return to help the Coyotes (4-0) open Southern League play with a victory.
Le Grand quarterback Ivan Perez threw three touchdowns, including two to receiver Michael Dinkins, who finished with eight catches for 160 yards.
Gustine 37, Delhi 0 in Gustine – The Reds defense posted their second straight shutout to help Gustine open SL play with a win. Alex Guerrero followed up his five-sack game last week against Morro Bay with eight tackles and one sack against the Hawks (0-4).
Sal Resendez scored three touchdowns and rushed for 118 yards on 11 carries for Gustine (3-1). Brand Garbez added 179 yards on the ground on 15 carries. Hector Esquivez scored on touchdown runs of 17 and 3 yards.
Stone Ridge Christian 36, Rite of Passage 22 in Atwater – David Boyce helped the Knights jump out to an early lead with a touchdown run and a touchdown catch as Stone Ridge Christian improved to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the Central California Athletic Alliance.
Hughson 35, Livingston 7
Orestimba 55, Mariposa 6