For 24 minutes Patterson was neck-and-neck with visiting Buhach Colony High on Sept. 20 at Patterson Community Stadium, but the Thunder showed why they were heralded, outscoring Patterson 21-7 in the second half to win 37-21.

Patterson dropped to 3-2 overall. Buhach Colony remained undefeated at 5-0 in 2019.

“We got worn down. We don’t have a large roster. We had guys in there that were fighting through a lot of pain, and they just kind of succumbed to it in that fourth quarter mainly,” head coach Rob Cozart stated after the loss.

In terms of metrics, the two teams were very close. Patterson’s offense finished with 174 total rushing and 128 total passing yards, while Buhach Colony finished with 179 total rushing and 142 total passing yards. Patterson incurred eight penalties for 50 yards, while Buhach Colony had six penalties for 65 yards.

The Thunder, however, had a knack for the big play.

Buhach Colony opened the scoring in the first quarter, when junior Nate Ruiz gashed Patterson with a 30-yard touchdown run. The Thunder converted on a two-point play, to go up 8-0 early.

Patterson responded when junior Logan McCleery hit senior Obadiah Godbolt for a 47-yard pass, to set up great field position inside the Thunder’s 15-yard line. Junior Jordan Imada finished the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run to pull the game to 8-7.

Following a pair of fumble recoveries from the Patterson defense to stifle two Buhach Colony drives, Imada made the Thunder pay with a 75-yard touchdown run, to give Patterson a 14-8 edge over the visitors with 8:58 left in the second quarter.

The Tigers appeared to be gaining all the momentum in the game, but in one fell swoop that all changed.

It only took the Thunder 16 seconds to recapture the lead. Senior Youlas Dickson III punished the Tigers with a 97-yard touchdown return on the kickoff to swing the lead back in their favor 16-14. Patterson had little time to enjoy a fleeting glimpse at the lead.

“We gave up a momentum shift kickoff return which was a killer,” Cozart said.

An interception from junior Marty Collins late in the second quarter assured that the score would remain that way at halftime.

Patterson went into the second half with a real shot at defeating Buhach Colony, but the second half was all Thunder.

Buhach Colony opened the second half with a drive that appeared destined for a punt. Forced into a second and 30-yards-to-go scenario following a penalty, the Tigers had a great opportunity to get the Thunder offense off the field. Buhach Colony had other plans, however, and once again delivered a staggering blow when senior Oscar Smallwood delivered a pass to senior Trey Paster that resulted in a 63-yard touchdown pass and run.

The duo of Smallwood and Paster was not done. Seven minutes later, Smallwood hit Paster again for a 13-yard touchdown pass, to stretch the lead to 28-14 with 1:05 left in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Patterson had offensive blues in the second half. The Tigers were unable to sustain a drive, resulting in no first downs until late in the fourth quarter.

Buhach Colony forced Patterson into a safety with 7:40 left in the fourth quarter. Paster then tasted the end zone for the third time with a 17-yard touchdown run to put the Thunder well ahead, 37-14.

Patterson’s offense broke through on their final drive of the night when Imada scored his third touchdown of the game with a two-yard run.

Despite enduring a tough second half, the Tigers were able to end the game on a positive note that may give Patterson something to chew on as they head into week two of play in the Central California Conference.

“It shows that we’re not going to stop fighting,” Cozart said. “We’re not going to lay down. We’re not going to quit.”

Imada had a strong individual performance, with 11 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns in the loss.

Buhach Colony’s Trey Paster was dynamic for the Thunder. His playmaking ability resulted in seven carries for 49 yards on the ground, and four catches for 74 yards passing. In total, the senior finished with three touchdowns in the win.

Golden Valley up next

Patterson will now look to right the ship at Golden Valley High on Sept. 27. The team defeated the Cougars 28-7 to snag their first league win during their maiden voyage through the CCC in 2018, and will look to repeat that success and capture their first league win of 2019.

Golden Valley is 2-2 so far in 2019. The Cougars have wins over Hoover (42-6) and Livingston (49-12), and losses to Livermore (21-14) and Centennial (35-21).

Golden Valley has averaged 165.3 rushing yards per game, and 56.0 receiving yards per game through four games played.

Sophomore Jabari Phillips leads the team with 59 carries for 519 yards. Nobody else on the team has reached 100 yards rushing so far this year, meaning Phillips will likely be a focal point for both squads on Sept. 27.

Senior Jonathan Peredia has taken the majority of the snaps for Golden Valley, going 20-40 for 280 yards and a touchdown.

The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

PI sports writer

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