Just like the playoffs, week after week

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

Needing a win tonight against Patterson to clinch a playoff berth, the Pacheco football team is playing with its back against the wall.

But that's nothing new for the Panthers -- they felt the same way heading into last Friday's 30-20 win over Central Valley, and have felt that way since the season began.

"I say it every week -- we've been playing a playoff game every week since league started," Pacheco coach David Snapp said. "I'm assuming everyone who plays us is going to underestimate us."

Pacheco heads into tonight's game without its workhorse running back Kalama Kamoku, who sprained his ankle on his second carry of the game Friday. Snapp is hoping he will have defensive tackle Luis Zendejas back for tonight's game. Zendejas missed the Central Valley game with a break in his right hand.

Patterson (5-2, 2-1 WAC) has injury problems of its own -- sophomore quarterback Damien Paolo was terrorized on Friday by the Los Banos defense, but original starter Joey Lopes may be back from a shoulder injury tonight.

"I'm assuming the Lopes kid is gonna be their quarterback," Snapp said. "Realistically, this is not a game they need to win, but I'm sure they want to get the taste of last week out of their mouth.

"I think they're going to be ready to play. I think they want to show they're a better team than they showed last week."

After Friday's game went scoreless deep into the second quarter, receiver Maurice Harden broke it open for Pacheco (5-3, 3-1) with a shoestring catch for a 15-yard touchdown.

"It was very important," Harden said. "It helped us get the team some momentum."

By the end of the third quarter, Pacheco had stretched the lead to 24-0 while containing feared CV running back Ja'Quan Gardner, who finished with 67 yards on 16 carries. His only touchdown came through the air.

"He was shifty -- I did lose him a couple of times," Pacheco defensive end Guillermo Perez said. "We had him, and then during the fourth quarter, I don't know what happened, I think we got a little too cocky or something. Let them go."

CV's Abraham Navarro overcame two early interceptions to pull the Hawks within 10 points with three TDs in the fourth quarter -- two to receiver Micoh Uti, who found a hole in the Pacheco secondary.

"I think if we connect to Micoh Uti early on, we're up 7-0 early and it gets the momentum going our way," first-year Central Valley coach Jason McClockey said. "We tried to spring Ja'Quan a little bit, but it was tough because they were playing really good defense. Everybody's been playing good defense, but we try to squeeze out a few good runs."

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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