Paced by Abel Bravo’s 203 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown, the Pacheco Panthers varsity football team (3-2 overall, 2-0 WAC) defeated the Lathrop Spartans Sept. 23 by the score of 29-23.
The Panthers were finally playing a home game at Veterans Stadium after opening the season with four away games.
Bravo, the junior halfback and linebacker, has been the catalyst for the Panthers this entire season leading the offense with over 900 yards on the ground; and he is the leading tackler on defense for Pacheco.
Lathrop scored first in this game, when they returned the opening kickoff 77 yards for a Spartan touchdown. Lathrop missed the PAT kick, so they led the game 6-0 early in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Beverly Tuitupou recovered a Spartan on-side kick attempt at midfield, setting up the Panthers for their first score. Bravo covered the fifty yards in just two plays, scoring from the 30-yard line to tie the score. When Arturo Anguiano added the PAT kick, the Panthers held their first lead at 7-6.
Pacheco upped their lead to 14-6 when Aiden Huerta connected with Daniel Scott on a 37-yard touchdown pass. Anguiano added the PAT for a 14-6 Panther lead.
The Spartans scored on their next two possessions, with a touchdown and a field goal to take the lead at 17-14 just before half time.
Pacheco regained the lead on their first drive of the second half, when Scott scored on a 15-yard run and Bravo ran in the two-point conversion, and the Panthers led 22-17.
Late in the third period, the Panthers upped their lead to 29-17 when Brandon DeReza followed a Caden Hale block and rambled 66 yards into the endzone for a Pacheco touchdown. Anguiano added the PAT, and the Pacheco lead was 29-17.
The Spartans added a late touchdown to close to within 29-23, but that was as close as Lathrop would come in this game.
Coach Jeremy Siemiller praised his defense adding, “Our defense really stepped up tonight. Manvir Gakhal, Jesse Garcia, Abel Bravo and Louie Setterberg made plays all game long.”
The Panthers will be in action at Veterans stadium next Sept. 30 when they host the Grace Davis Spartans in their homecoming game.
In the junior varsity game, the young Panthers defeated the Spartans by the score of 14-7.