After the Wolf Pack football team came away from their homecoming game with a 63-19 loss to St. Mary’s of Stockton, West High coach Steven Wichman told his players that they had plenty to be proud of.
“Ultimately, our goal going into this game was not to be so concerned about the scoreboard, but leaving the field knowing that we played four quarters of quality football, and I feel like we did that,” Wichman said after Friday’s game at Steve Lopez Stadium.
West’s players knew they would have their biggest challenge of the year on Friday.
“It can only get better from now,” said senior quarterback Alfred Robinson. “Putting points on the board on a good team, one of the best teams in the league, only gets us stronger. Going into next week we’ve got Tokay. We should have a lot of momentum.”
St. Mary’s has been the Tri-City Athletic League champion in all but three years since 2005, when the TCAL was formed. Stagg High was league champion in 2013, and West, under Coach Steve Lopez, was the TCAL champion in 2005 and 2006.
The last time the Wolf Pack put up three touchdowns against the Rams was in 2015, the last year they went to playoffs, but St. Mary’s shut out West in two of the past three years.
The Rams (2-4, 1-0 TCAL) totaled 491 offensive yards on Friday and scored on all but one of their offensive possessions, but the Wolf Pack pushed back all night. West (1-5, 0-1 TCAL) covered 278 yards of offense, including 164 passing yards as Robinson completed 9 of 16 passes.
“That’s been our game plan all year,” Robinson said. “We’ve got a lot of athletes out there. Get them the ball and open space. Have them make plays. Let them be athletic. Let me roll in the pocket and find my guys down the field.”
St. Mary’s scored first on a 52-yard pass from senior quarterback Noah May to sophomore Jadyn Marshall, and West answered by covering 80 yards in four plays, including a 29-yard pass from Robinson to senior T.J. Williams and a 52-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to senior Nathan Nelson. Junior Jasmine Cochiaosue made the kick to tie it 7-7.
St. Mary’s scored three more times in the first quarter, all touchdown runs for junior Tyrei Washington, who gained 102 yards rushing on 15 carries.
Washington ran in another TD at the start of the second quarter, and St. Mary’s junior Ethan Daos ran in a touchdown as well.
West charged back after that when senior Elijah McKnight ran a 90-yard kickoff return to the St. Mary’s 3-yard line, and Robinson punched it in from there, cutting the Rams’ lead to 42-13 at the half.
May scored for the Rams on a 4-yard run in the third quarter, and West answered by covering 84 yards in four plays. One of them was a 62-yard pass from Robinson to McKnight, who pulled in the ball while surrounded by heavy St. Mary’s pass coverage. Senior Amari Henderson ran the ball in from the 12-yard line on the next play, brining the score to 49-19.
Henderson finished the night as West’s leading rusher, covering 63 yards on seven carries for most of the Pack’s 114 rushing yards.
“Everybody believed in me, the coaches, everybody believed in me, so I just did my job — just run the ball, try to do what I can for the team and score touchdowns,” Henderson said. “We knew this was going to be the toughest game we ever played and we stuck with them.”
McKnight came through for the Wolf Pack again on the following kickoff, stripping the ball from the St. Mary’s kick returner.
McKnight said afterward that he thought of the game as a grudge match.
“It all started freshman year when we had a chance to win. I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder, that I have to put my team in the best position possible,” he said. “We hung with them for a while. There were moments when we had chances to turn it back. It’s just a learning experience.”
West was unable to capitalize on that opportunity, and the Rams scored again at the end of the third on a pass from May to senior Maika Heck. St. Mary’s scored one more time on a 73-yard run to make it a 63-19 game. St. Mary’s senior Eddie Sanchez made all nine of his point-after kicks.
St. Mary’s won the junior varsity game 42-0.
Tracy 52, Tokay 14
The Tracy High Bulldogs (2-4, 1-0 TCAL) opened league play with a decisive win over visiting Tokay High (1-5, 0-1 TCAL) on Friday. Tracy gained 463 offensive yards while the Bulldog defense held the Tokay Tigers to just 45 yards.
Senior Trevor Pope ran the ball for 72 yards on three carries, including a 34-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter to put Tracy on the scoreboard first. Junior Tommy Chavez scored on a 46-yard run in the first quarter, and Pope scored again, this time on a 15-yard run, to put Tracy up 21-0 going into the second quarter.
Tokay ran in two touchdowns in the second quarter to cut Tracy’s lead to 21-14, and Tracy took the game back with a 4-yard touchdown run for senior quarterback Logan Fife and a 3-yard touchdown run for Chavez to put the Bulldogs up 35-14 at the half.
Fife, who completed 11 of 13 passes for 196 yards on Friday, passed to Chavez for a 25-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and junior Chase Henderson scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth. Senior Matthew Guilacci made all seven of his point-after kicks and also scored a 34-yard field goal at the end of the fourth quarter.
Tracy won the junior varsity game 49-13, and on Thursday, Tracy’s freshmen beat Tokay 39-0.
Kimball 62, Weston Ranch 0
The Kimball Jaguars (5-2, 2-1 Valley Oak League) shut out the Weston Ranch Cougars (1-4, 0-2 VOL) 62-0 for Kimball High’s homecoming game Friday at Don Nicholson Stadium.
Sophomore quarterback Nicholas Coronado completed 9 of 13 passes for 185 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to senior Kaleo Ballungay and a 24-yard touchdown pass to senior Darren Jackson in the first quarter and a 29-yard touchdown pass to senior Jaxen North to open the second quarter.
Senior Louie Pacheco scored on a 45-yard run, junior Alonzo Jackson scored on a 23-yard run, and Darren Jackson scored on a 14-yard pass from Coronado to make it a 41-0 game in Kimball’s favor at the half.
Senior Andre McDaniel scored for the Jaguars on an 85-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter, Alonzo Jackson scored on an 80-yard run in the third, and senior Kyle Gibson scored on a 25-yard run in the fourth quarter. Jose Ahumada made six of seven point-after kicks, and Ballungay scored a 2-point conversion on a pass from Coronado.
Kimball won the junior varsity game 49-0. On Thursday, the Kimball freshman team beat Sonora 20-0
Los Banos 28, Mountain House 7
The Mustangs (0-6, 0-3 Western Athletic Conference) scored first on Friday against the visiting Los Banos Tigers (2-4, 2-1 WAC). The Tigers ran in a touchdown in the second quarter to tie it up 7-7, and they ran in two touchdowns in the third quarter and one in the fourth for the 28-7 win.
Los Banos won the junior varsity game 20-7.
California School for the Deaf 42, Delta Charter 12
The Delta Charter Dragons (1-6, 0-1 Central California Athletic Alliance) took a 42-12 loss to the California School for the Deaf (4-2) of Fremont on Thursday afternoon in a non-league game at Elias Gamez Memorial Field. The Dragons scored in the first and second quarters but couldn’t keep up with the Eagles, who held a 33-12 lead at the half.