The Bulldogs and Jaguars both brought effective passing attacks to Friday’s football season opener.
The Tracy combination of senior quarterback Logan Fife and senior receiver Trevor Pope came through when it counted, bringing the Bulldogs a 27-12 win to start off the season at Kimball High’s Don Nicholson Stadium.
Pope said he felt dialed in to the mental aspect of the game, so he came in with the the idea that he would just play the game that he and Fife had practiced.
“I’ve been working routes with Logan so we already came in the game with our confidence up,” Pope said. He scored three of the Bulldogs’ four touchdowns and caught five passes for 131 yards, the biggest contribution of the night for Fife’s 222 passing yards on 13 of 23 attempts.
The Tracy team also got a boost from senior running back Riley Revino, who ran the ball 24 times to account for 123 of Tracy’s 198 rushing yards. He had only two runs for more than 10 yards, but his relentless charges into and through Kimball’s defensive line kept the ball moving steadily forward.
“We thought we were going to come out and put a whoopin’ on them, but when there’s tough games you’ve just got to play through it, play by play,” he said. “I was chunking for 5 or 6 yards every play, so that’s a first down every couple plays, but they got a lot better from last year for sure.”
Though Tracy moved the ball well, the Bulldogs’ drives were interrupted a few times, including their first drive when Kimball senior Andre McDaniel intercepted a pass.
The Bulldogs scored on their second possession, when Fife connected with Pope on the right side and Pope ran it in for a 45-yard touchdown. Tracy scored again at the start of the second quarter. Fife connected with junior Tommy Chavez to get the Bulldogs to the Kimball 1-yard line, and Fife punched the ball in up the middle from there.
The Jaguars scored midway through the second quarter on a five-play, 51-yard drive, including a 26-yard pass up the middle from sophomore quarterback Nicholas Coronado to senior Jaxen North.
It was part of a productive night for Coronado in his varsity debut at Kimball High. He passed for 274 yards, completing 20 of 32 passes, including five passes for 84 yards to North and five passes for 90 yards to senior Kaleo Ballungay.
“I just have confidence in this team,” Coronado said, adding that he intends to build on his leadership role with the team through this season and into the future.
“We put up a good fight with them. They’re ranked No. 5 in our section, so we just came out here and wanted to fight,” he said. “I made some mistakes trying to find the open receiver. We have a great receiving corps in Jaxen North, Kaleo Ballungay, it just goes on forever, but I get it to them and they make it happen.”
For as much as the Kimball offense advanced the ball, the Jaguars’ drives usually stalled before they could get into scoring position. Coronado’s longest pass of the night, 47 yards to Ballungay, got the Jaguars into field goal range, but they missed the kick, and his next longest pass, 37 yards to North, came on the final possession of the second quarter as the clock ran out.
The Bulldogs kept their momentum up in the third quarter with a nine-play, 65-yard drive that included a 21-yard pass play from Fife to Pope for a Bulldog touchdown.
Tracy senior Blake Vollbrecht intercepted a pass on the first play of Kimball’s next possession, but the Bulldogs ran just four plays before Kimball senior Darren Jackson snagged an interception. The Jaguars were unable to capitalize on that, and the Bulldogs came back with a scoring drive that took them 65 yards on eight plays, including another touchdown pass from Fife to Pope, this one for 11 yards. Senior kicker Matthew Guilacci made his third point-after kick of the night to put Tracy up 27-6.
Kimball answered with an 80-yard, 12-play drive, including a 14-yard touchdown pass from Coronado to McDaniel to cut Tracy’s lead to 27-12.
Tracy coach Matt Shrout said the Bulldogs got off to a slow start on Friday, and he also saw that the Kimball team was well-prepared.
“You could tell they spent a lot of time on us in the off-season. They did some things that we didn’t see on film, because they were really generic in their scrimmage, so it took us a while to get going, and we dropped a couple balls. It was just a sloppy game,” he said.
“They’re a better team than they have been in the past, so good for them. It was more that we didn’t play how we wanted to play.”
The Jaguars went into the game reminding themselves that Tracy won last year’s matchup 75-12. This time the Jaguars forced a few more turnovers, including two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Senior Mason Salazar grabbed one of those, stripping the ball from a Tracy player to shut down the Bulldogs’ final drive in the fourth quarter.
“They ran the same offense for years, so we game-planned for them,” Salazar said. “It went as planned, but it’s just that we beat ourselves,” he said, adding that the Jaguar defense still misread plays that they should have stopped.
“We took it one play at a time, we got better and we’ve got to keep doing that one step at a time every day.”
Kimball coach Mike Kuhnlenz said his players wanted to do more than just improve on last year’s loss, and figures they were disappointed in not getting the win.
“This is a credit to how hard they work in practice, cause we grind them down and they did not give up one time,” he said. “They were going both ways and they kept fighting against a really good Tracy team.”
Tracy’s junior varsity team beat Kimball 23-13, and on Thursday Tracy’s freshmen beat Kimball 42-18.
Western Sierra 34, Delta Charter 12
It took a while for the Delta Charter Dragons to find their rhythm on offense in their opening game Friday afternoon against the Western Sierra Wolves of Rocklin.
Western Sierra finished with the 34-12 win at Delta Charter’s Elias Gamez Memorial Field. The Dragons went three-and-out on four of their seven first-half possessions, and the Wolves took a 20-0 lead before Delta Charter could put together a touchdown drive.
Western Sierra senior quarterback Chris Delaloye connected with senior Sandash Saravanavijayan for an 11-yard touchdown pass at the end of the first quarter, junior Skyler Mauricio scored on a 3-yard run at the start of the second quarter, and Delaloye passed to Mauricio for a 5-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter.
Near the end of the second quarter the Dragons put together a six-play, 65-yard touchdown drive. Senior quarterback Robert Cancilla connected with senior wide receiver Kea’Sean Johnson for a 15-yard pass, and senior Jathen Cain sprinted down the left side for a 35-yard touchdown run.
Western Sierra finished the first half with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Delaloye to junior Aiden Johnson to put the Wolves up 27-6 at the half.
The Dragon defense came out stronger in the second half. Delta Charter coach Jeff Tilton credits Johnson, Cain, seniors Olache Edache and Cristian Aldaco, freshman Tank Chartier and sophomore Danny Alvarez with slowing down the Wolves during the third and fourth quarters.
Cain was the Dragons’ offensive leader, running for 159 yards on 11 carries, including a 60-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to cut Western Sierra’s lead to 27-12.
Cancilla totaled 46 yards passing on six of nine attempts, and Johnson also took a turn at quarterback to give the Dragons an offensive spark in the second half, and he covered 23 yards rushing on six attempts.
The Wolves picked up their pace again in the fourth quarter, and dashed down the field with junior Caden Jenkins leading the way on a 72-yard, 10-play drive, finishing with Delaloye’s 11-yard touchdown pass to junior Jacob Buhler. Buhler’s point-after kick was his fourth of the afternoon, with another blocked by the Dragon defense, and put the Wolves up 34-12.
Denair 49, Millennium 14
The Denair Coyotes took over in the second quarter to take a 28-14 halftime lead, and scored three more touchdowns in second half to beat the Millennium Falcons 49-14.
Senior Gio Rangel Andrino ran in a touchdown for the Falcons in the first quarter, and Millennium junior quarterback Caden Duke connected with senior Josh Marlin for a 73-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Duke finished the night with 250 passing yards, completing 14 of 30 passes.
Chavez 46, Mountain House 28
The Mountain House Mustangs lost their opening game at home, 46-28, to the Chavez Titans of Stockton. Chavez also won the junior varsity game 52-12.
Atwater 30, West 7
The Wolf Pack opened on the road Friday, taking a 30-7 loss at Atwater High. Atwater won the junior varsity game 46-0.