Following its bye week, the Los Banos Tiger varsity football team (2-2, 1-0 Western Athletic Conference) hosted Beyer from Modesto on Homecoming Night Sept. 16 at Loftin Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Patriots by the score of 30-6.
The Los Banos offense led by quarterback David Herrera, and Homecoming King and offensive player of the game Mark Carreiro the Tigers totaled 261 yards and two touchdowns. But it was the Tiger defense and special teams that really came up large for Los Banos, adding three touchdowns to the victory. Jamison Braniff received the opening kickoff at his own 23 yard line, and with the assistance of great blocks by Salvador Garcia, Jackson Silva and Jett Lindeman scampered 77 yards for a Tiger touchdown. Herrera connected with Kayson Welch on the two-point conversion and Los Banos opened an 8-0 lead that it would never relinquish.
Los Banos upped its lead to 14-0 late in the first period, when Herrera powered into the end zone from five yards out. The conversion attempt failed, but the Tigers had their 14-0 advantage.
Beyer closed the gap to 14-6 when Brock Gross connected with Jamal Davis on a 5-yard scoring pass. The two-point conversion attempt failed and that was the only time the Patriots would cross the goal line all game.
Braniff once again provided the Tigers with excellent field position with another great kickoff return, this time a 60-yard rumble to the Beyer 37 yard line. Los Banos moved down to the Patriot two yard line but a fumble ended the drive. However, with Beyer on its own 2 yard line, Tiger defenders Daylen Mankel and Lorenzo Chavez sacked Gross in his own endzone for a safety and a 16-6 lead.
Now it was defensive player of the game George Garcia’s time to provide Los Banos with another defensive score. The senior cornerback stepped in front of a Gross pass, intercepted the ball and returned it 58 yards for a “pick-six” touchdown. Jose Esquivel kicked the PAT, and the Tigers lead was 23-6.
But Garcia wasn’t finished, he intercepted a second Patriot pass to set up the final touchdown for the Tigers.
Los Banos marched 57 yards in just six plays with Herrera finishing the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Esquivel added the PAT and the Tigers had their 30-6 WAC win.
Garcia said after the game, “I read the receiver all the way but I looked back at the quarterback and saw his eyes aiming for my receiver, so I was able to jump the route and intercept the ball. I ran down the sidelines, and with a block from Yahir Zuniga I was able to score the “pick-six”. “What a thrill.”
Head coach Dustin Caropreso added, “We didn’t execute perfectly in the early part of the game, but with the help of the great field position that we got from our defense and special teams we put it together and came away with a nice win.”
In the junior varsity game, the Tigers dropped a heartbreaker 8-6 to the Patriots.
Beyer scored the first touchdown of the game when Jose Garcia ran 25 yards for a Patriot score. Noel Foehrigler ran in the two-point conversion and Beyer had an 8-0 advantage.
The Tigers closed the gap to 8-6 when Wyatt Hansen connected with Luke Reyna on a 13-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed leaving the Tigers with an 8-6 loss.
That would conclude all the scoring in this hard fought defensive battle. The Tiger defense played an exceptional game led by Angel Valero’s game high eight tackles. Owen Baffunno, Luke Reyna, Adrian Rivas and Alfredo Valencia all added six stops for Los Banos.