On Friday, Oct. 14, the Los Banos Tiger football team (6-2 overall, 5-0 WAC) hosted the Ceres Bulldogs (6-2 overall, 3-2 WAC) in a battle for first place in the WAC.

The see-saw battle ended in a 21-21 tie at the end of regulation play, forcing an overtime period.

The Bulldogs were on offense first in the overtime and needed three plays to cover the 25 yards for the go-ahead score. Tarrell Lee-Gill darted into the endzone from 11 yards out, and Nicholas Vierya kicked the PAT to give Ceres a 28-21 lead.

Now the Tigers had to score a touchdown to keep the game alive. Tiger quarterback David Herrera carried the ball four consecutive times and scored the needed touchdown from one yard out, making the score 28-27 in favor of the Bulldogs.

Now it was decision time for head coach Dustin Caropreso, who called a timeout to discuss his options. First, he decided to go for the 2-point conversion and kick the tying “point after attempt” (PAT). His staff urged him to “Go for it,” and Caropreso sent out his offense. A five-wide spread formation opened a running lane for Herrera, and the Tiger quarterback roared into the endzone with the winning 2-point conversion and a Los Banos 29-28 victory.  

The Tigers scored on their first drive covering 80 yards in 12 plays, with Herrera scoring from one yard out. Amari Molina kicked the PAT, and Los Banos held an early 7-0 advantage.

Ceres quarterback Landyn Hudson scored on a one-yard plunge on the Bulldog’s first possession, but the point after attempt was blocked by Ray Fernandez, and the Tigers still held the lead at 7-6.

Hudson hit Lebron Stallworth with a 3-yard touchdown pass, Vierya added the PAT kick, and Ceres took a 13-7 lead.

The Bulldogs were driving towards another score when the Tiger defense came up with a huge play. Jamon Cannon recovered a Ceres fumble on the Los Banos 2-yard line.

Then the play of the game. Mark Carreiro raced around the left end with the aid of great blocks by Jose Esquivel and Julian Cortez and rambled down the sideline on a 98-yard touchdown scamper. Milano added the PAT to give Los Banos a 14-13 lead.

The Tigers made it 21-13 when Herrera hit Ayden Barcellos in perfect stride resulting in a 68-yard touchdown pass. Milano added the PAT kick for the 21-13 advantage.

Then with just 1:35 seconds remaining in the game, Ceres came back with their third touchdown. Lee-Gill scored from 10 yards out, scoring 21-19 in favor of the Tigers. Lee-Gill then ran in the tying 2-point conversion making the score 21-21.

Los Banos had one last chance to win the game in regulation play, but time ran out on their final drive, forcing overtime.

Herrera had another excellent night, passing for 153 yards on 7 of 11 throws and the one touchdown to Barcellos. He added 83 yards rushing and two touchdowns. 

Carreiro had 175 yards on 15 carries and a 98-yard touchdown scamper.

On defense, Jett Lindeman had a stellar night with 22 combined tackles, followed by Lorenzo Chavez with 15 stops, and Cade Torres recorded 12 tackles for Los Banos,

“Our goal all week was to rise to this challenge.” Coach Caropreso said after the game. “Ceres is an excellent football team, and we knew we were in for a battle. The team responded and left it all out there on the field. Big win for this team.”

Michael Martin