Los Banos, Patterson meet tonight

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comOctober 12, 2012 

When Los Banos walks into Patterson Community Stadium tonight to face the Western Athletic Conference's other Tigers, there's no telling who will step under center and stare down the Los Banos defense.

It could be Joey Lopes, who as Patterson's starter has been a key cog in a 5-1 start, but suffered a shoulder injury near the end of a 21-20 win over Central Valley Sept. 29.

It could be backup Brandon Williams, who came in after Lopes' injury to lead a 13-play, 80-yard drive to defeat Central Valley.

It could be sophomore Damian Paolo, who was called up from the JV squad a week before he threw for 197 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Patterson's homecoming win over Livingston last Friday.

"I don't think any one will change our plan," Los Banos coach Dustin Caropreso said. "We'll stay with the same defensive gameplan. Our coaches do a good job putting our guys in the right position."

LB's defense is coming off a 45-0 win over Ceres -- the team's first shutout scored since a 43-0 win over Ceres in 2010 -- in a game that saw two quarterbacks take the field for Ceres. The Bulldogs' starter Blake Hurst has played sporadically since injuring his shoulder against Pacheco three weeks ago, and fullback Devon Ruger has taken snaps each game.

"We felt we played our best game Friday against Ceres, and we want to build off of that this week," Caropreso said. "It's a young group, but they've bought into what our defensive coaches have been preaching -- keep it simple, stay with your assignments and make tackles."

The LB defense used different looks to slow Ceres' passing game -- at times sending just three rushers and dropping eight into coverage.

"Pretty much we have our ends get up so he doesn't have any place to go, and passing is not a great option because you have eight guys covering five guys," LB defensive end Nathan Vander Poel said. "You've got Dretel (Blackwell), (Josh) Priest and me, he had nowhere to go.

"(Our three) against their five was a very good matchup. We might be undersized, but that doesn't mean anything."

Ceres worked its way up to the Los Banos 12-yard line late in the third quarter, but held on a 4th-and-5 quarterback scramble that gained two yards. A play later, LB gave the ball back on a fumble.

"They could have easily said, 'Oh shoot, back on the 10 yard line,' " Caropreso said. "But they did a good job of digging in and going."

Ceres' touchdown pass on third down was called back due to offensive pass interference, and a fourth-down pass in the end zone fell incomplete after a no-call on defensive pass interference.

On the other side of the ball, the Tigers did what they do -- quarterback Chris Corpuz completed 7 of 10 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, and James Sams carried the ball 19 times for 195 yards and three scores, mostly in the second half.

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

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