It was a battle for first place in the WAC conference football standings when the Lathrop Spartans (6-3 overall, 5-1 WAC) invaded Loftin Stadium Oct. 20 to play the Los Banos Tiger varsity football squad (8-1 overall, 6-0 WAC).
The Tigers remained undefeated in WAC conference play and secured at least a tie for first place with their 37-20 victory over Lathrop, with only a home match with the crosstown rival Pacheco Panthers Oct. 27 remaining in the 2023 season.
The Tigers scored the first three times they had the ball to open up a 16-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Quarterback David Herrera (8/11 passing, 197 yards, 2 TD’s) connected with Adam Aguilar (2 catches, 62 yards, TD) on a 55-yard scoring pass to give Los Banos their first points and a 6-0 lead.
The Tigers made it 13-0 when Herrera scampered 25 yards, behind a great block from Shane Soares for a score, and Abel Carrillo added the conversion kick.
Carrillo then gave Los Banos a 16-0 advantage when he booted a 41-yard field goal.
Andre Mughar scored the first of his two touchdowns and Julio Garcia ran in the two-point conversion to close the gap to 16-8. That was as close as the Spartans would get in this game.
A Herrera to Yahir Zuniga (4 catches, 86 yards, TD) 61-yard scoring pass increased the Los Banos to 22-8, and Carrillo added his second conversion to give the Tigers a 23-8 advantage.
Caleb Robertson set up the next Tiger score when he intercepted a Spartan pass at the Lathrop 40-yard line. Two plays later Herrera (13 carries, 120 yards, 3 TD’s) scored his second rushing touchdown on a 33-yard gallop to the end zone, aided by an excellent block by Joel Alvarenga (20 rushes, 106 yards), Carrillo added the conversion kick giving Los Banos a 30-8 lead.
Mughar scored his second touchdown for Lathrop to make the score 30-14 in favor of Los Banos.
Lathrop scored their final points when Michael Adams hit a streaking Julio Garcia for a 70-yard score to close the gap to 30-20, in favor of the Tigers.
The Tigers closed out the scoring with 2:21 left in the game when Herrera followed his center Sam Sanchez right up the middle from four yards out. Carrillo added the conversion kick to give Los Banos a comfortable 37-20 lead.
Raul Diaz sealed the victory for the Tigers when he intercepted a Spartan pass. Herrera then took a knee for three plays, and Los Banos won the battle of undefeated teams. final score 37-20 in favor of the locals.
The Tigers received some outstanding defensive efforts in this game, led by Cole Ramos (14 tackles), followed by Eddie Sweet (10 tackles), while Jett Lindeman, Adan Salas and Lorenzo Chavez each recorded nine stops.