In its first two road games, the Los Banos Tiger offense has been sluggish, and the defense has been stellar. On Sept. 2 at Tiger Stadium, it was the opposite.

The offense came to life and scored 26 points, but the Tiger defense struggled to contain the Warriors’ strong rushing attack and the pinpoint passing of Orestimba quarterback Alex Millan.          

The Tigers received the opening kickoff, and Mark Carriero set up the Tiger offense on the Orestimba 45-yard line with a 47-yard return. Following a false- start penalty, Jackson Silva paved the way for Isaiah Medina around right end on a 50-yard touchdown scamper. Jose Esquival added the PAT, and the Tigers held an early 7-0 lead.

Orestimba came back to tie the score at 7-7, when Millan connected with James Perez on a 40-yard scoring strike. Guillermo Navarro kicked the PAT to tie the game.                                                                             

The Tigers scored two second-period touchdowns, both by way of the pass. Quarterback David Herrera, behind excellent pass protection by offensive linemen Julian Cortez, Jose Esquivel, Salvador Garcia, Jackson Silva and Jett Lindeman connected with Jamison Braniff on the first of his three touchdown passes from 26 yards out. The PAT failed and Los Banos held a 13-7 advantage.

On the next possession, Herrera connected with Braniff for a second time on a pass from 29 yards out. The two-point conversion failed, and the Tiger lead was 19-7.

The turning point in the game occurred just before halftime, when with three seconds left in the half Millan found Vince Lopez on an eight-yard touchdown pass. Orestimba missed the PAT making the score 19-13 at halftime.

Orestimba took the lead in the third period, when Kai Brazil (123 yards rushing) powered over the goal line from three yards out. Navarro added the PAT, and the Warriors held a 20-19 advantage.

The Warriors upped their lead to 26-19 when Millan completed his third touchdown pass, this time to Nathan Archuleta from eight yards out. Navarro kicked the PAT.

Carriero returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tiger 42-yard line, and from there Los Banos marched down the field going 58 yards in eight plays to score its fourth touchdown of the game.  Herrera connected with Braniff for the final 19 yards, and when Esquivel kicked the PAT, the game was even at 26-26.

Orestimba took the lead late in the fourth quarter when Millan and Lopez connected again, this time on a 37-yard touchdown pass and with the conversion, the Warriors took the lead at 34-26.

           Los Banos had one last chance to tie the score. The Tigers moved the ball to the Warrior 32-yard line. But with 20 seconds left in the game Jason Uribe stepped in front of Ayden Barcellos and intercepted Herrera’s pass, sealing the victory for Orestimba.

           Braniff paced the Tiger offense with five pass receptions for 102 yards and three touchdowns. Herrera completed 11 of 20 throws for 175 yards and the three touchdown passes to Braniff. Medina led the Los Banos rushing attack with 53 yards and a touchdown.

           Joel Alavenga led all Tiger defenders, recording 11 tackles and a quarterback sack.  Lorenzo Chavez added nine tackles, and Adan Salas and Daylen Mankel each recorded five stops, including three quarterback sacks by Mankel.

           The Tigers squad will have a bye week this Friday and will be preparing for a Sept. 16 homecoming game with the Beyer Patriots.

Los Banos receiver, Yahir Zuniga leaps high to catch a pass from quarterback David Herrera.
Michael Martin