The Tracy High Bulldogs knew they would have a challenge on Friday when they hosted the St. Mary’s Rams for the first game of Tri-City Athletic League football Friday at Wayne Schneider Stadium.
As expected the Rams (4-2, 1-0 TCAL) brought a big and fast defense that shut down most of the Bulldogs’ drives. The St. Mary’s offense was quick and elusive, scoring on nearly every one of the Rams’ possessions, bringing St. Mary’s the 56-13 win. The loss puts Tracy at 3-3, 0-1 TCAL.
“We knew they were going to be really disciplined. We just didn’t execute very well. We had a game plan for them but it didn’t work out,” said Tracy senior running back Austin Ho-Sy. “Our offense definitely had potential tonight. We couldn’t finish drives. We could get the yards but not when we needed them. Penalties also held us back.”
He and junior quarterback Cameron Ross-Escobar accounted for nearly all of Tracy’s 113 yards of offense, with 71 yards rushing and Ross Escobar passing for 42 yards on two of five passes, including a touchdown pass to junior Mason Meyers. Most of the time the Rams’ defense shut down Tracy’s drives before they could get started.
“We expected them to be tough, but we expected it to go a lot better. It didn’t go as we planned,” said Ross-Escobar.
Tracy coach Jeff Pribble added that the Bulldogs didn’t see anything unexpected.
“We saw exactly what we thought we were going to see. Everything they do we practiced for. I just feel like we’re a young team that gets in front of a big game like that,” Pribble said. “It feels like we’re a deer in the headlights early in the game before we get our wits together.
“We show four quarters of fight and we show heart. We’re growing and learning but there’s nothing they did that was surprising to us whatsoever. They just kind of out-physicaled us up front a little bit and other than that it was just mental mistakes by us.”
St. Mary’s covered 437 yards of offense, including 205 yards passing on nine of 13 passes for senior quarterback Cruz Herrera. The Rams ran the ball for 232 yards, with sophomore Asante Carter leading the way with 107 yards on 16 carries.
The Rams scored on their first possession, a 73-yard drive that included a 9-yard touchdown run for Herrera.
Tracy answered on the kickoff return when senior Dwayne Thomas ran the ball back 94 yards for a touchdown and senior Kyle Wright made the point-after kick. The Rams came right back with senior Jadyn Marshall’s 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Herrera passed to Marshall for a 55-yard touchdown on the Rams’ next possession. The only first-half possession where the Rams didn’t score was sophomore kicker Matthew Kain’s 35-yard field goal attempt, which went wide left. Marshall scored again on an 80-yard punt return in the second quarter.
Tracy then put together a 64-yard drive, which included a pass interference call that put the Bulldogs on the St. Mary’s 35-yard line. Four plays later Ross-Escobar connected on a pass up the middle to Meyers.
The Rams had 1:24 to cover 80 yards at the end of the second quarter, and did it in four plays, including Marshall covering 50-yards on a pass from Herrera, and Marshall also scoring on a 12-yard run. Kain also made all of his point-after kicks to make it a 35-13 game at the half.
The Bulldogs were unable to make significant progress on offense in the second half while the Rams scored three more times, including a pass from Herrera to Marshall in the third quarter, with Kain making the kick, and junior L.J. Parafina scoring on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs couldn’t hang onto the ball on the following kickoff, and the Rams recovered the ball on the Tracy 8-yard line and needed just two plays for Parafina to score on a 1-yard run. Senior Patrick Ehlert made both of the Rams’ fourth-quarter point-after kicks, making it a 56-13 game.
Tracy’s challenge will be just as tough next week when the Bulldogs host the Lincoln Trojans for homecoming.
“We need to come out with more passion, more dominance and a chip on our shoulder,” Ross-Escobar said.
“We just need to bring a little more focus,” Pribble added. “It starts in practice and it starts with studying the game, being students of this game.”
St. Mary’s won the junior varsity game 25-8.
Also on Friday, Kimball High’s Jaguars were to have a bye week, but scheduled a game at Linden High tonight to make up for their game that was cancelled on Aug. 27 because of wildfire smoke. The Jaguars won it 58-6 and remain undefeated at 5-0 and 2-0 in the Valley Oak League.
Millennium High hosted the West Park Panthers of Roseville at West High, with the Panthers winning 57-0. The West High Wolf Pack traveled to Lodi Friday and took a 56-0 loss to Lodi at the Grape Bowl. The Mountain House Mustangs traveled to Los Banos High and took a 34-14 loss to the Los Banos Tigers. Delta Charter High traveled north to face Trinity High of Weaverville and lost 40-13.