The 24th Crosstown Classic football game turned out to be the highest-scoring game in the history of the Tracy vs. West rivalry, with the playoff-bound Tracy High Bulldogs taking the 55-42 win.
The Bulldogs (4-6, 3-2 Tri-City Athletic League) needed the win to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, with next week’s matchup to be announced Sunday.
West’s six touchdowns made it the highest-scoring game this year for the Wolf Pack (1-9, 0-5 TCAL). It was also an emotional game for West’s players and coaches, with a moment of silence at the start of the game in honor of West senior Bryan Redman, who died on Monday.
“We did what we could, for Bryan, and what he’s done for us and the team,” senior T.J. Williams said. “We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but we tried our best.”
West coach Steven Wichman said that he knew from the start of Friday’s game that his team would take the field with the passing of their teammate on their minds.
“I think that we were all playing with heavy hearts out there. It’s been a very somber week on campus. We were definitely playing for more than just ourselves. Our players played very inspired,” Wichman said. “Certainly there were times throughout the course of that game where I really felt like we gave ourselves some chances.”
Tracy played without a couple of the Bulldogs’ usual starters, including senior wide receiver Trevor Pope and senior running back Riley Revino, who were sidelined with injuries.
The frequency of penalties also kept both teams from establishing a rhythm or any kind of momentum. The Bulldogs turned to an assortment of playmakers to total 595 offensive yards for the night, including 276 yards rushing for seven different players, and 319 yards passing. Starting quarterback Logan Fife completed 17 of 24 passes for 296 yards, including seven passes for 94 yards to senior Nate Stroup and four passes for 81 yards to junior Tommy Chavez.
Tracy coach Matt Shrout said that as long as the Bulldogs had an effective offense he wasn’t too concerned about the West team scoring.
“We subbed out in the second half, so they can score 42 points on guys that aren’t our guys all they want,” Shrout said. “I thought we played well at times. Our defense played a little better when our first-team defense was in.”
Fife, who committed this week to continue playing football at Fresno State University, said he’s come to expect that the crosstown rivalry game will be unpredictable.
“This game usually turns out kind of funky with the turnovers and momentum changes, but we knew we just had to be disciplined,” he said. “A couple guys were banged up so certain guys had to step up, like Nate Stroup, Jason Goularte, Blake Vollbrecht. Everyone stepped up tonight and make plays. We were disciplined and even when the momentum changed to the other side we were able to bounce back.”
Tracy scored first on a 2-yard run for junior Chase Henderson, and West tied it up in the second quarter when senior quarterback Alfred Robinson connected with senior Elijah McKnight on a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Tracy held the ball for just one play after the kickoff before fumbling the ball away, and on the next play Robinson connected with Williams for a 76-yard touchdown pass to put the Pack up 13-7.
Tracy came back right away, one play after the kickoff, when Fife hit Henderson on a 50-yard touchdown pass. Henderson ran in the 2-point conversion to put Tracy up 15-13, and the Bulldogs would hold the lead for the rest of the game.
The Bulldogs scored on their next two possessions, including a 3-yard run for Stroup and a 22-yard pass from Fife to Chavez to put Tracy ahead 29-13 at the half. Tracy scored twice more on the Bulldogs’ first two possessions of the third quarter, with Chavez making a 7-yard touchdown run, and after Tracy senior Blake Vollbrecht intercepted a pass and ran it back 48 yards to the West 7-yard line, Tracy sophomore Austin Ho-Sy scored on a 7-yard run to give Tracy a 42-13 lead.
Ho-Sy, just up from the junior varsity squad, was the Bulldogs’ rushing leader, covering 81 yards on 13 carries, nearly all of them in the second half.
West’s passing game took hold in the second half. Robinson, with 388 yards for the night on 22 of 38 passes, completed four passes on the following nine-play drive, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to junior Simeon Sims, followed by senior Amari Henderson’s 2-point conversion run.
Tracy answered with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Fife to junior Jason Goularte at the end of the third quarter. West’s Robinson connected again with McKnight on a 35-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.
“My goal was to go out on my last high school game successful. I just tried to contribute my best on offense and that’s what I did. I’m proud of my guys and proud of all my coaches that I’ve been with four years,” Robinson said, adding that he knew that it would be an emotional game with players mourning the loss of their teammate Redman.
“I was wondering how we were going to take it, but we did it for him. We wish he was on our team still playing with us. He was one of our close friends so we dedicated this game to him and we went out there and played hard.”
McKnight said he also felt compelled to play his best football on Friday.
“After losing a teammate we really had a chip on our shoulder and tried to do whatever we could to win this game. We made a couple of mistakes early, but we tried to come back,” he said.
Tracy scored once more midway through the fourth quarter, with junior Noah Deneau coming in as quarterback for the fourth. He connected with Ho-Sy on an 18-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter. Senior Matthew Giuliacci made five of seven point-after kicks.
West scored twice more, including a 37-yard pass from Robinson to McKnight on West’s next possession, and on a 20-yard pass from Robinson to Sims in the final seconds to cut Tracy’s lead to 55-42, with a 2-point conversion pass from Robinson to senior Joshua Bolden. West junior Jasmine Cochiaosue made two of four point-after kicks Friday night.
Tracy won the junior varsity game 49-0
Lathrop 45, Mountain House 39
The Mountain House Mustangs (1-9, 1-6 Western Athletic Conference) started off with the lead on Friday, but by the third quarter of their final game of the season the Mustangs and the Lathrop Spartans (2-8, 2-5 WAC) traded the lead back and forth until they ended up with a 39-39 tie at the end of the fourth quarter, with the Spartans scoring in overtime to get the 45-39 win.
Mountain House senior quarterback Timothy Cantu led the Mustang offense with 91 yards rushing on 16 carries, including a 7-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. Cantu also passed for 173 yards, completing four of 14 passes, including a 70-yard strike in the first quarter to junior Brijon Leslie-Fitzpatrick to put the Mustangs up 14-0.
Lathrop scored in the first quarter on a 72-yard kickoff return for Jason Seabron, and Seabron scored again in the first on a 10-yard pass from Luis Hernandez. Both teams scored in the second quarter, the Mustangs on a 55-yard pass from Cantu to Leslie-Fitzpatrick, and the Spartans on a 3-yard run for Joey Sanchis.
The Mustangs held a 21-19 lead at the half, with Mountain House junior Isaiah Apostal making all three of his first-half point-after kicks, though all three of his second-half kicks would be blocked. Lathrop made one kick in the first half, missed another, and failed on a 2-point conversion attempt.
The Spartans took the lead in the third quarter on a 12-yard pass from Davis Raya-Ruiz to Seabron. Mountain House answered with Cantu’s 20-yard touchdown run, and Raya-Ruiz scored on a 13-yard run, with Mark Ramones making a 2-point conversion run to keep Lathrop in the lead, 33-27.
The Mustangs tied it up 33-33 at the start of the fourth quarter when senior Avery Brooks scored on a 3-yard run. Lathrop’s Seabron scored again on a 19-yard pass from Davis-Raya. The Mustangs tied it up 39-39 with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter to put the game into overtime.
The Mustangs got the ball first in overtime and went three-and-out. The Spartans then scored on a 25-yard pass from Raya-Ruiz to Seabron.
Mountain House won the junior varsity game 44-0.
Stone Ridge Christian 40, Millennium 8
The Millennium Falcons lost their final game of the season, 40-8, to Stone Ridge Christian on Friday at Castle Air Force Base in Atwater.
The loss puts the Falcons (3-7, 1-3 Central California Athletic Alliance) out of the running for playoffs.
Stone Ridge Christian (6-4, 3-1 CCAA) scored first on a 60-yard run in the first quarter. Millennium held the lead briefly after junior quarterback Caden Duke scored on a 30-yard run and senior Josh Marlin ran in the 2-point conversion to put the Falcons up 6-8. Stone Ridge Christian then scored on a 50-yard run to hold a 12-8 lead at the half, and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and two more in the fourth.
Big Valley Christian 43, Delta Charter 6
The Big Valley Christian Lions (6-4, 4-0 CCAA) secured sole possession of the CCAA title with their 43-6 win over the Delta Charter Dragons (1-9, 0-4 CCAA) on Friday in Modesto.
The Lions held a 29-0 lead, including three touchdown runs, a punt return for a touchdown and a safety, before the Dragons scored on a touchdown pass in the second quarter to make it a 29-6 game in the Lions’ favor at the half. Big Valley Christian ran in two more touchdowns in the second half.