On a foggy night both teams’ offense didn’t lack explosiveness and the game came down to the final play. Yuba City quarterback Nick Afato threw a lob-pass to wide receiver Brandon Hueth on a corner fade to the back of the endzone as time expired.
Hueth came down with the ball, but he pushed off Patterson defensive back Jaydrian Lawson causing the officials to call offensive pass interference, costing Yuba City a touchdown.
“Looking back on it, how many times their quarterback ran QB sneaks and lead [designed quarterback running plays], I was surprised it wasn’t a running play. They also knew if they ran the ball and were short of the endzone, the game was over,” said head coach Rob Cozart.
The penalty resulted in an untimed down from the Patterson 16-yard line with the Tigers up 52-48. Yuba City would try a double reverse pass, hoping to cause a breakdown in coverage, but the Tigers were able to hold them out of the endzone securing the win and a trip to Oakdale.
The Tigers jumped out on them early leading 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. “We were able to get an early 7-0 lead which we haven’t been able to get consistently on teams, and we see the passing game gave us an advantage,” Cozart said.
In the second quarter Yuba City would settle in and cut into Patterson’s lead with a 10-yard pick-six from Joseph Trevino, cutting the lead in half 21-14. “It’s like it took our foot off the throttle a little bit, and kind of let them back in the game with turnovers and special teams giving up a short field.”
Short fields and turnovers led to back-to-back touchdowns from Yuba City trying the game at 28. The teams would exchange touchdowns, Patterson would score on a 38-yard run by quarterback Jacob Guevarra and Yuba City would score on a one play drive, 80-yard run from running back Joaquin Porcayo with three minutes left in the first half.
“We thought we had it bottled up and he made one quick cut and took away a bunch of angles off some of guys, some missed tackles, missed gap reads, and bad angles to get to the tackle.”
Patterson would respond by driving down the field and getting a field goal to take a 38-35 lead into halftime. “That was huge, that was a big momentum swing for us,” said Cozart.
Yuba City would take their first lead in the game in the third quarter when Nick Afato would connect with Brandon Hueth on a 15-yard pass, giving the Honkers a 42-38 lead. That was the first time the Tigers trailed any opponent since August 27, against Manteca.
They wouldn’t trail for long, responding with Jacob Guevarra finding Javier Huizar for a 29-yard touchdown (Guevarra’s fourth touchdown pass, Huizar’s second touchdown catch), recapturing the lead 45-42.
Jaydrian Lawson would give the Tigers some breathing room on a 19-yard touchdown run extending the Tigers lead to 10 in the fourth quarter, 52-42. Yuba City finally broke the special team’s coverage midway in the quarter scoring off a punt return touchdown from Michael Rojo cutting the lead to 52-48.
Patterson will face its postseason nemesis, Oakdale for the fourth time in 11 seasons. The last time they meet in 2019 Division IV sectional quarterfinals when they fell to Oakdale 67-21. This was a matchup many people anticipated since the brackets were released.
“It was a game we all circled and wanted on our schedule for playoffs. I’m glad we didn’t let it distract us and we were able to take care of the games in front of them.”
It is a renewed postseason rivalry that has been one-sided, with Oakdale winning the past three meetings in 2013, 2017, and 2019. This Friday’s semifinal game is going to add another chapter to the rivalry, it will feature strength versus strength, town versus town, and bragging rights for a year.
This year’s playoff matchup will remind Tiger fans of 2017. They have a versatile high-octane offense that can score in every way, entered the playoffs as a top five seed, played two prior postseason games, and facing the Mustangs at the Corral. Oakdale has been lights out defensively not allowing a point in their last four games, and in that same span the Tigers have averaged 50 points per game.
“Something has to give. We have that magnetic history and we been there recently, and it’s great because it’s town versus town. There’s only one school in Oakdale and one school in Patterson, we know they’re going to run the ball and not give up on their running game like most teams do when it’s not working. No matter how you put it and we’re excited about it and ready to go.”