The Tracy High football team closed out its season against a fast and powerful team from Central Catholic High, ending the Bulldogs’ playoff run with a 58-14 loss to the Raiders.
It concluded a season where the Bulldogs went 4-7 overall, 3-2 in the Tri-City Athletic League and got into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 playoffs based on their ranking in the section, with a tough pre-league season putting the Bulldogs higher in the rankings than teams that had better records and finished higher in their leagues.
The Raiders (6-5, 5-1 Valley Oak League) showed why they are consistently one of the top teams in the section, finishing as Division 2 runner-up last year and making it to the Division 2 semifinals the year before.
“I knew they were going to come in physical and they were going to get after it right away because that’s the team Central Catholic has always been,” Tracy quarterback Logan Fife said. “I’ve seen them play for years growing up so I knew what to expect. They came out and we weren’t executing like we wanted to. We just did what we could and tried to fight, but they took it to us early and kept it going.”
The Raiders pounced on the Bulldogs right away. After Tracy’s first three-and-out series, Central Catholic needed just one play for sophomore Lyon Colon to reach the end zone on a 42-yard dash up the right side.
The Raiders went on to score on every one of their first-half possessions while the Bulldogs were able to achieve just four first downs in the first half and could not get past midfield.
Central Catholic scored three more touchdowns in the first quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Colon, a 16-yard pass from senior Dalton Durossette to senior Sithri Price, and a 43-yard run by Colon. Senior David Gallegos made 3 of 4 point-after kicks, with the Bulldogs blocking one.
The Raiders’ second-quarter touchdowns came on a 6-yard pass from Durossette to sophomore Aiden Taylor, a 45-yard punt return by senior Frank Clark and a 70-yard run by sophomore Julian Lopez. Gallegos scored three more point-after kicks, plus a 30-yard field goal. The Raiders were up 51-0 at the half.
“It seemed like anything that could go wrong did. We weren’t very productive,” Tracy coach Matt Shrout said. “I knew they’d be big and physical. They took it to us and we were kind of shell-shocked.”
The Bulldogs saw more success in the second half. They forced Central Catholic to punt on the team’s first possession of the third quarter, and Tracy came back with a six-play, 73-yard drive, with Fife and senior Chase Henderson running the ball and Fife connecting with junior Tommy Chavez on a 28-yard pass for the touchdown.
Central Catholic answered with Lopez running for a 59-yard touchdown. Tracy came back on the next series for a six-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter, with Fife completing passes to sophomore Austin Ho-Sy and senior Nate Stroup. Ho-Sy scored on a 22-yard run up the right side. Senior Matthew Giuliacci made both of his point-after kicks to make it a 58-14 game.
Senior middle linebacker John Palmer said that his team had practiced and prepared for Central Catholic.
“They just came out with a little more fire than us. We thought we were going to come out and bring it to them, but obviously that didn’t happen,” he said. “Congrats to these guys for playing hard. We practiced all week and we looked like we were ready. When it comes down to it, a little bit more heart and we would have had it.”
The Bulldogs gained 35 yards on offense in the first half, compared with 308 yards for the Raiders. Tracy finished the night with 219 offensive yards, including 93 yards on 6 of 15 passes for Fife. Henderson was the Bulldogs leading rusher with 45 yards on eight carries, Ho-Sy carried the ball four times for 33 yards, and Fife ran the ball seven times for 34 yards.
The Raiders totaled 413 offensive yards, including 137 yards on five carries for Lopez and 120 yards on nine carries for Colon. Durossette completed 6 of 7 passes for 69 yards.
Shrout said that even with a tough schedule this year he had expected the Bulldogs to do better than 4-7.
“I’ll take some of the blame for this year,” he said. “I thought we were ready to go and maybe we weren’t. We’re going to redo some things on how we do our program and come back next year and go at it again.”
Central Catholic advances to face Jesuit in Carmichael in the quarterfinals.
Atwater 50, Kimball 26
The Kimball Jaguars (5-6, 2-4 Valley Oak League) kept up with the Atwater Falcons (8-3, 4-5 Central California Conference) through the first half of Friday’s SJS Division 4 game in Atwater.
Atwater came back to score five second-half touchdowns, outpacing the Jaguars for the 50-26 win.
“It kind of got away from us,” Kimball coach Mike Kuhnlenz said. “The boys didn’t stop fighting, but we couldn’t make it happen.
“They had some pretty good-sized boys. The stepped up and moved the ball when they needed to.”
Atwater scored first and Kimball came back right away when sophomore quarterback Nicholas Coronado hit senior Kaleo Ballungay for a 76-yard touchdown. Atwater took a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and the Jaguars tied it up midway through the second.
The Falcons scored two touchdowns early in the third before Kimball scored again, and the Falcons scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns, with Kimball scoring another at the end.
Atwater advances to face Sierra High in Manteca in the second round of the playoffs.