74th Edition: All Los Banos -- Tigers offense rumbles through Dos Palos

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comSeptember 20, 2012 

The win-loss totals following Los Banos' 43-7 victory in the 74th edition of the Westside War still lean toward Dos Palos -- 42-26, with half a dozen ties.

But LB's 43 points was the fifth-most scored by a team in the history of the rivalry -- LB won 48-10 in 1991 and 49-10 in 2008. DP won 49-8 in 1974 and 57-16 in 2000.

"We were all pumped up knowing this was the seniors' last time ever playing Dos Palos," Los Banos running back James Sams said after Los Banos hoisted the Cotton Bale, the traditional trophy for the game, and the Food4Less Battle of the Westside Trophy. "Coming from 7 years old to now, it's a good feeling. They were always our rivals, from Pop Warner to now."

Sams rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown in the win, and added two touchdowns on screen passes for another 98 yards. LB quarterback Chris Corpuz added 328 yards on 13-of-18 passing, spreading five touchdowns to four receivers -- Sams caught two, tight end Alec Barcellos grabbed one, and receivers Keith Turner and Daeton West each scored once.

On the season, Corpuz has completed 69 percent of his passes for 765 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has yet to throw at interception.

The Westside War win gave Los Banos a 4-0 record heading into tonight's league-opening clash with host Central Catholic, another Western Athletic Conference favorite.

Since Los Banos joined the WAC, the Tigers are 2-0 against Central, winning 35-28 on a goal-line stand last year at Loftin Stadium and 24-21 two years ago in Modesto.

"We're going to get the ball in Sams' hands, in Daeton's hands and in Keith's hands as much as possible and go from there," Los Banos coach Dustin Caropreso said. "We both average a lot of points, but if you ask me if we want it to turn into a shootout, no. We want to have 9- and 10-play drives that keep our defense off the field."

Los Banos enters league play as the only undefeated WAC team -- Central Catholic dropped a 45-42 nail-biter last week to Downey (the Raiders' first lost to a Modesto school since 1989) and a 48-30 loss to still-undefeated Placer earlier in the season. But Central has other pre-league highlights to point out.

"We beat a good St. Mary's team by the same score De La Salle beat them," Central Catholic coach Roger Canepa said. "Then we lost to Downey -- it was a good win for them, but we had a letdown the first half. We needed a stop and didn't get it."

Despite a 2-2 record, nobody is overlooking the Raiders -- not if they're smart, anyway.

"It's nothing different than in years past -- they're going to line up in I-backs formation and come at you, and they'll throw in some Wing-T stuff," Caropreso said. "And they're gonna drop back and throw the football. They have a good quarterback who can throw the ball."

Garrett Ardis' numbers aren't as flashy as Corpuz's -- 46 of 83, 635 yards and 8 touchdowns to 6 interceptions -- but he has targets in Nate Loya and Oregon-bound tight end John Mundt that will give the LB secondary fits.

"I think you can't plan to stop one guy. You have to plan for all the guys," Caropreso said. "It's like how they say, you try to contain them and hold them to a minimal amount -- make everyone else try to beat you."

On the other side of the Westside War, the Tigers left Dos Palos (0-3) in a bad way.

"They're big and fast," Dos Palos coach Frank Lemos said. "What else is there to say?"

A bruised, battered and emotionally hurting Broncos team continues its non-conference schedule tonight against a Chowchilla team that's had a few rough games of its own. Chowchilla (1-2) earned its first win last Friday, 35-20, against Central Valley Christian in Visalia.

"Chowchilla's a well-coached team. They're physical. Very disciplined," Lemos said. "We're banged up, and we're trying to create some consistency. We have players out. It's a little rough right now."

Emotional boost

A familiar face appeared at Los Banos practice on Wednesday when senior Joseph Vera, who was released from Doctors Medical Center in Modesto last week after surgery to relieve pressure on his brain, showed up to say hi.

"It was good for the kids to be able to see him and go talk to him and see how he's doing," Caropreso said.

The next level

A few Tigers are playing football in college -- here's how a few of them fared over the weekend:

At the junior college level, 2009 graduate Damon Bragner earned 11/2 tackles for a loss in San Joaquin Delta's 59-7 win over Feather River, and 2010 grad Armondo Henderson had two tackles in Gavilan's 32-2 loss to Contra Costa.

In the NAIA, Doug Fuentes started at left tackle in Iowa Wesleyan's 35-28 loss to Lindenwood. Bryce Howard starts at left tackle for Menlo College, which will play NCAA-Division III La Verne University -- where Howard's 2011 LB teammate Garrett Mentz plays running back -- at noon tomorrow in Atherton.

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