Following a 21-14 loss to Patterson, the Pacheco football team has two weeks to look forward to a week-10 matchup against Los Banos in the Crosstown Clash.
The Panthers are using the bye week to get healthy and reflect on what went wrong in the Patterson game -- things like getting stopped on the 1-yard line on a play that had one official ruling it a touchdown and another ruling the runner down.
"You can't leave it in the officials' hands," Pacheco coach David Snapp said. "We had that chance, another chance on the next drive. The kid from Patterson made an excellent hustle play and batted the ball out of the air on the option."
Add to that a pair of Jacob Parks interceptions -- one that led to a Patterson touchdown to give the Tigers a 13-7 lead and another that halted Pacheco's attempt to tie it at 21 -- and the Panthers' key mistakes at crucial times cost them a certain playoff berth.
"We're a young football team, and we haven't quite figured out how to finish a big game," Snapp said. "The kids played hard, you just can't fumble the ball on the goal line and leave it up to the official."
Of course, Pacheco had their bright spots. The Panthers' first drive, a 15-play grind, put them up 7-0 early in the second quarter after a Frank Ginda touchdown. Defensive back Kody Pena prevented Patterson from taking a lead in the third quarter with an interception in the end zone.
Parks left the game on the second-to-last play after twisting his ankle. Snapp said he didn't think it was broken, and Parks should return for the Los Banos game, along with running back Kalama Kamoku (ankle) and defensive lineman Luis Zendejas (hand).
"I'm anticipating it," Snapp said. "But depending on the situation, if we're going to get into the playoffs regardless, it might be better to play Daniel (Marquez). He's worked hard and knows how to run the offense."
Snapp will have a better idea how that may play out after Week 9. Earlier in the year, it didn't look like any 5-5 teams would make it into the playoffs, but now it looks like four or five .500 teams may make it into the 64-team Division I-IV field, and Pacheco has the strength of schedule that could slide it into the 16th spot in Division III.
"We put together a pretty good schedule, and our league schedule is good, so if it comes down to 5-5 teams we should be one," Snapp said. "But I'm preparing to go 6-4 and go to the playoffs anyway. Rather win to get in than back our way in."
JV wins close one
Pacheco's JV team held off a furious Patterson comeback attempt to win 33-28 after taking a 20-0 second-quarter lead.
Librado Velasquez ran for three touchdowns, and quarterback Juwan Epperson, recently returned from a broken arm, ran two more in.
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at email@example.com