The Millennium and Delta Charter high school football teams battled until the end, with the Millennium Falcons taking the 22-20 win in overtime on Saturday at Delta Charter High School.
In the end it was a 2-point conversion from Anton Souza that put the Falcons ahead in overtime. Millennium also held the advantage through the day with a rushing game that totaled 246 yards among six players, and junior quarterback Shalin Ratna passed for 59 yards on four of 17 passes, including the touchdown pass to senior Jason Piazza that put Millennium on the scoreboard first.
“Coming in, especially because this is our only game, we knew we had to dominate. We knew that this was the only game,” Ratna said. “We knew Delta was coming. We were practicing nonstop. We were up at night watching film every day. Every day non-stop conditioning.”
The Delta Charter Dragons answered each of the Falcons’ touchdowns but came up short on their 2-point conversion run in overtime. They finished with 200 yards on offense, all rushing yards.
“I was just hoping we could get some yards. We played a good game the whole game,” said junior Julian Gilbert, who came in as quarterback and scored the Dragons’ second touchdown on the next play after starting senior quarterback Caleb Pedretti was taken out with an injury.
“My team, we pulled through. I just was hoping to get whatever we could get. They blocked for me and I was able to get down the field and score,” Gilbert said.
It was the only game of the season for the Falcons, whose other game on the schedule, April 1 against Big Valley Christian, was cancelled because a Millennium player had tested positive for COVID-19 in the week before that game. Under the 2021 rules for all sports, players must all be tested for COVID-19 before each game, with games cancelled if any player tests positive.
Delta Charter had just two games, including a 30-7 loss to Big Valley Christian of Modesto on April 9.
“Due to it being COVID we were happy to just be out here to play,” Delta Charter Coach John Griggs said. “I’m definitely proud of my boys who competed against Big Valley last week and again this week. That’s all we can ask of them. I felt that they left everything on the field and we’re pretty happy with that. It came down to who was going to have the ball last.”
For their first score the Falcons took advantage of a fumble recovery on the Dragons’ 15-yard line. Millennium was pushed back on a penalty, but two plays later Ratna completed a 23-yard pass to senior Jason Piazza on the left side of the end zone. A 2-point conversion run came up short, the Falcons led 6-0 for the rest of the first half.
Delta Charter got on the scoreboard midway through the third quarter on a three-play, 53-yard drive, including a 36-yard run for Gilbert and sophomore Marques Callahan’s 5-yard touchdown run, with senior Jathen Cain running in the 2-point conversion.
Callahan said it was a good outcome for the Dragon’s second game of the season.
“It’s my first year. I’m new to the family,” he said. “We balled out. The line blocked. My man over there doing his thing on the defense. Simple as that. We handled business. We had heart though.”
Millennium scored on the Falcons’ next drive, with junior Thomas Rhead making two runs into the end zone, both called back on penalties, before he scored for the Falcons on a 15-yard run, with Souza running in the 2-point conversion.
“We came in and knew we had to bang,” Rhead said. “We had to make something happen to get the momentum. We came with the mindset that this was our last game, we had to play for our seniors and we had to put it all on the line.”
The Dragons tied it up midway through the fourth quarter. They got close to midfield when Pedretti was hurt and Gilbert came in as quarterback, and he immediately charged up the right side through Millennium’s tacklers for a 53-yard touchdown run. A 2-point conversion run ended up short, and the game was tied at 14-14.
In overtime each team got the ball on the 10-yard line and had four chances to score. The Dragons got the ball first, and Cain made the 9-yard touchdown run on the second play to put his team up 20-14, but the Falcon defense stopped the Dragons in the backfield on the 2-point conversion attempt.
Millennium scored on senior Mason Laird’s 6-yard touchdown run to the left. That tied it up 20-20, and Souza plowed through the line to score the 2-point conversion to make it a 22-20 win for Millennium.
It concludes a season where Millennium Coach LaVale Woods was worried that his team might not get in any games, though his team prepared for the season with the expectation that the Falcons would compete.
“First it was just a roller coaster. Are we going to have a season or not? Our county, when it was in the colored system was in the purple for so long it didn’t look like it was going to happen,” Woods said. “When the governor made the changes and they made it to the numbers per-capita instead of the colors it was like new life was shot into us.”
With so many sports going at once the Falcons had several athletes who ordinarily would play football opting for baseball instead, and some of the athletes compete in track and field as well. That presented a conflict as the Central California Athletic Alliance held a track and field meet on Saturday in Ripon. Millennium senior Nate Washington, a sprinter on the track team, got to the football game late after competing in Ripon, but still ended up as the Falcons’ leading rusher, covering 64 yards on six carries in the second half.
“A lot of the key starters were in Ripon. We were lucky that a few were able to come back and make it back and be able to play when their events were done, and they were a big help,” Woods said.
“Delta gave us a hell of a game. They’ve definitely improved. Their coaching staff has a great thing going over here. They didn’t get the outcome they wanted but they played well enough to win. It could have gone either way.”
Hughson 23, Kimball 18
The Hughson Huskies held a 16-6 lead over the Kimball Jaguars going into the fourth quarter on Saturday night at Don Nicholson Stadium. The Jaguars scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, but the Huskies also scored again to hang on for the 23-18 win.
Junior quarterback Nicholas Coronado passed for 292 yards, completing 24 of 39 passes and connecting with seven different receivers, including junior Mason Rivera, who caught six passes for 177 yards, including all three of the Jaguars’ touchdowns.
Leading Kimball’s rushing game was senior Alonzo Jackson, who carried the ball 18 times for 105 yards.
The Jaguars finish their season at 3-2.
Patterson 71, Mountain House 14
The Patterson Tigers controlled their home game against Mountain House High from the start on Friday night. The Tigers covered 339 yards of offense while the Mustangs covered 258 yards, including 107 yards passing and 151 yards rushing.
Mountain House senior quarterback Roy Gardner passed for 78 yards on three of 12 passes, including a touchdown pass to senior Gabe Martinez. The Mustangs also ran the ball for 151 yards, including 54 yards on 10 carries for Gardner, and junior Aeneas Brooks ran the ball three times for 43 yards, including a touchdown run.
The Mustangs finish their season at 1-3. Patterson finishes at 4-1.
Patterson’s rushing leader was senior Jordan Imada with 187 yards on 13 carries, including three touchdown runs. He also scored twice on kickoff returns.