David Snapp suspected what Ceres was going to do.
The Bulldogs ran a two-point conversion against Pacheco a year ago in which quarterback Chris Lubinsky rolled right. Snapp said his squad fell back into coverage and Lubinsky continued to roll straight into the end zone.
With 10 seconds remaining and Ceres down a point and going for the win Friday night, Snapp believed some incarnation of the play was coming. The Panthers called timeout and brought heat from the backside, forcing Lubinsky to scramble. The Bulldog senior made a throw off his back foot, and a diving effort in the end zone came up empty as Pacheco held on for a 42-41 victory at Veterans Stadium.
“Our safety, Shane Barton, busted through and almost sacked him on the play,” Snapp said “The pressure forced an awkward throw, and fortunately, it hit the turf. The kids know that we made this one way more interesting than it needed to be, but at the end of the day, it’s all about winning and we found a way to get it done.”
The Panthers did what they set out to do, scoring on six of eight possessions in the game. After fumbling on its opening possession, Pacheco (5-4, 3-1 WAC) responded with three straight scoring drives to close the half. Aric Barton threw touchdown passes to Marcus Ordunez and Carl Schofield, and Tk Teneng rushed for a score to make it 21-21 at the break.
The Pacheco ground game kept rolling in the second half with another Teneng touchdown run and two from Cody Allred, who tied the score with a 38-yard TD midway through the fourth quarter and then put Pacheco up 42-35 with 2 minutes to play.
The victory sets up a showdown with Los Banos on Friday in the Crosstown Clash. A win would give the Panthers second place in the WAC and secure their place in the playoffs.
“A game against your rival the last week of the season with the playoffs on the line. You can’t ask for any more than that,” Snapp said.
Los Banos 35, Livingston 0 in Livingston – Coach Dustin Caropreso got the fast start he was looking for as the Tigers (6-3, 3-1 WAC) built a 35-0 halftime lead in a win over the Wolves (1-8, 0-4).
Chris Kyles rushed for a career-high 228 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Quarterback Christian Corral passed for 209 yards and two scores.
Chowchilla 40, Sierra-Tollhouse 10 in Tollhouse – Cody Woolsey had touchdown passes of 75 and 92 yards as the Redskins (7-1, 2-1 North Sequoia League) bounced back from their first loss of the season with a road rout of Sierra. The win set up a showdown with Liberty-Madera (6-3, 3-0) on Friday with a share of the NSL title up for grabs.
Le Grand 19, Ripon Christian 14 in Le Grand – Rigo Mares triumphantly returned to the Bulldogs’ lineup, catching touchdown passes of 71 and 55 yards to help lead Le Grand (1-8, 1-5 Southern League) to its first win of the season. Beto Marquez was 13 of 20 passing for 245 yards and Julian Diaz had a 15-yard TD run with 1:59 to play to claim the victory.
Orestimba 33, Delhi 26 in Newman – The Warriors (8-1, 6-0 SL) scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull out a big home win and secure their second straight SL title.
Jesse Flores returned to action after being out the last couple weeks and caught a 70-yard touchdown pass that gave Delhi (7-2, 4-2 SL) a 19-12 lead in the fourth quarter.
Waterford 26, Gustine 21 in Waterford – The Reds’ playoff hopes were put in doubt as they were upset by the Wildcats (4-5, 2-4 SL) on the road.
Gustine (5-4, 4-2) needs a win in its regular-season finale against rival Orestimba in the Battle for the Chief.
Dos Palos 41, Tranquillity 0 in Dos Palos – Tre Walker pounded out three rushing touchdowns as the Broncos (5-4, 3-1 West Sierra League) won their third straight.
Jonathan Hernandez threw TD passes to Armando Vega and Rodney Miller as Dos Palos climbed over .500.
Fresno Christian 20, Stone Ridge Christian 12 in Fresno –The Knights dropped their first game of the season despite two rushing touchdowns from Jonathan Collazo. The senior ran for a 40-yard touchdown to tie the score 6-6 early in the second quarter, but Fresno Christian returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to take a 14-6 lead.
Collazo’s second touchdown cut the lead to 14-12 in the second half, but the Eagles (8-1) held off the Knights (8-1).
Hilmar 44, Mountain House 28 in Tracy – Chase Kindberg and Klay Farris hooked up on two first-half touchdown passes as the Yellowjackets (8-1, 4-0 TVL) continued their roll through the TVL and set up a showdown Friday in Ripon (6-3, 4-0) with the TVL title on the line.