It is said in football that offense wins games, but defense wins championships.  If that’s the case,  both the Los Banos Tigers and the Dos Palos Broncos will be in for a great 2022 football season.                               

The annual “Westside War” battle of the Broncos and the Tigers proved to be a defensive struggle with the Tigers prevailing on the strength of some fine defensive play and by winning the turn-over battle. 

With Los Banos leading the game by a 21-14 score, the game came down to the final offensive drive by the Broncos.  As Dos Palos was moving deep into Los Banos territory, Ayden Barcellos stripped the ball from Bronco receiver Michael Cantu and picked up the loose pigskin with just under a minute left on the clock to insure a Tiger victory.         

Dos Palos took the early lead when in the first quarter, Bronco quarterback Peyton Van Worth scored on a six-yard run and Jesus Bon added the conversion kick, Dos Palos held a 7-0 lead.

Los Banos tied the score late in the second period, when Tiger quarterback David Herrera connected with Jamison Braniff on a 14-yard scoring pass.  Salvador Garcia added the conversion kick, and the game was tied at 7-7.

The Tigers took the lead for the first time in the third quarter, when Herrera followed blocks by Jett Lindeman and Bobby Rogue on a two-yard plunge into the end zone, giving Los Banos a 13-7 lead.  Garcia added the conversion, making the score 14-7 in favor of Los Banos. 

Dos Palos came right back to tie the score at 14-14, when Van Worth connected on a 39-yard touchdown pass to Sixto Ibarra and with the Bon conversion the game was all even. 

Dos Palos’ Elias Esquivel returns the opening kickoff Friday night and is tackled by Los Banos defender, Cole Ramos.

With under three minutes to play the Tigers regained the lead when Herrera followed a Jackson Silva block into the end zone from 12 yards out, giving Los Banos a 20-14 advantage, Garcia added his third conversion and the Tiger lead was 21-14.         

The Broncos had one last chance at scoring, when they recovered at short kickoff at their own 44-yard line. Five consecutive running plays by Drake Hennagan and Cantu moved the ball into Tiger territory at the Los Banos 28-yard line with less than a minute to play. 

That’s when Barcellos secured the victory for the Tigers with his strip and fumble recovery.  Los Banos was able to just run out the clock for the final 48 seconds and claim a 21-14 hard fought victory over Dos Palos.

There were some fine individual performances for both squads on the night. Tiger quarterback David Herrera led all rushers with 157 yards and two touchdowns and completed 8 of 18 passes for 120 yards and a score. 

Daylen Mankel paced the Los Banos defense with five tackles, two of which were sacks of the Bronco quarterback, and he recovered a fumble.

Dos Palos wide receiver, Elias Esquivel, left, catches a long pass against Tiger defender, Ayden Barcellos Friday night in Dos Palos.  

Lorenzo Chavez recorded nine tackles, while Jett Lindeman added seven stops and Cole Ramos, Raymond Fernandez and Kayson Welch each collected five tackles for Los Banos.                                                          

Michael Cantu paced the Bronco offense with 115 yards on 13 carries and added 27 yards receiving for Dos Palos.  Junior quarterback Peyton Van Worth completed 12 0f 20 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, and Sixto Ibarra hauled in five passes for 82 yards and a score.

After the game winning quarterback David Herrera said, “We were really locked down as a team, and our offensive line played great all game, helping me to get off the throws and opening holes for the running game.”

The Broncos will host Summerville next Friday August 26, 2022, while the Tigers will travel to Hilmar to face the Yellowjackets.

Michael Martin