Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012
Looking back on the Los Banos year in sports
By David Witte / email@example.com
When Los Banosans look back on 2012, one game will stand out -- Los Banos High's 44-35, four-overtime loss to Escalon in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV football playoffs.
In a reprise of LB's 34-32 win to open the season, the game went back and forth and featured record-setting running backs James Sams, LB's slicer and dicer, and Nathan Chunn, Escalon's power fullback.
Chunn was Escalon's first 2,000-yard single-season rusher, while Sams became LB's career rushing leader on a 73-yard touchdown run with 2:17 remaining in the third quarter.
"It's impressive to be in the house when your record of 20 years gets broken, and it couldn't happen to a better kid," said Rodney Percoats, who held that record for 20 years. "I've known James Sams for a long time. I know his family. He's a great kid, and if anybody was going to break my record, I'm glad it was him."
But LB's playoff run came to an end a while later when Escalon stopped Los Banos in four plays in the fourth overtime after Chunn scored for the Cougars. Escalon went on to lose to LB's Western Athletic Conference rival Central Catholic in the championship.
A few other games this season captured LB's attention, including a 10-6 Los Banos win over Pacheco in the Crosstown Clash Nov. 2, which came down to a 37-yard Bebeto Robles field goal in the third quarter and a Delvonte Moore interception in the waning minutes. Both quarterbacks threw one touchdown -- LB's Chris Corpuz to Sams and Pacheco's Jacob Parks to Adam Perez.
On Oct. 24, the Pacheco boys water polo team became the first team in any sport at Pacheco High to earn a playoff spot after the Panthers defeated Los Banos 9-7 to take the second WAC spot in the SJS D2 playoffs. Before the game, Pacheco coach Josh Weinberger and LB coach Darryl Barger announced that the final game between LB and Pacheco each season would be known as the Eggbeater Cup, complete with a traveling trophy of an old-style eggbeater on a wooden plaque.
"It's an amazing milestone," Weinberger said about the win. "And to be a part of it, I'm overwhelmed."
The Pacheco girls volleyball team later joined the water polo team in playoffs after finishing 6-6 in the WAC, and the football team earned an at-large spot in the D3 playoffs after a 5-5 season.
Across town, a number of Los Banos High teams earned WAC championships in 2012: in the fall the volleyball team went 12-0 in league play, as did the girls tennis team, the girls water polo team went 7-1 for a WAC title and the girls cross country team went 5-1 to share the title with Livingston and Ceres.
In the spring, the boys and girls swim teams both went 6-0 in league dual meets and won at the WAC championships, and in the winter the boys basketball team went 10-2 to share the title with Central Catholic, while the wrestling team went 5-1 in duals along with Ceres, but LB won the WAC Finals to take the league title.
LB also took a trio of junior-varsity championships when the volleyball team went 10-2, the girls track team was 6-0 and the wrestling team was 6-0.
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org