Notebook: Pacheco, Mountain House set for WAC showdown. Panthers chasing history.

Ceres High School running back, Andrew Alcala, right, has the ball stripped in the first quarter by a Pacheco High defender Fri., Oct. 5, 2018 at Veterans Stadium in Los Banos.
Ceres High School running back, Andrew Alcala, right, has the ball stripped in the first quarter by a Pacheco High defender Fri., Oct. 5, 2018 at Veterans Stadium in Los Banos.

The stage is set for a Western Athletic Conference showdown next week between undefeated Mountain House and Pacheco.

The Mustangs improved to 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in the WAC with a 31-0 win over Beyer on Friday night. Meanwhile, the Panthers took care on their end with a 59-6 win over Ceres that improved their record to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the WAC.

Pacheco will host the game on Friday at Veterans Stadium at 7 p.m.

“It’s exciting,” said Pacheco coach David Snapp. “The kids have worked hard to put themselves in this position. This is a big game for a lot of people, but for us it’s just another opportunity to go 0-1.”

The Pacheco coaching staff is trying to down play the importance of the game this week. The Panthers have learned their lesson from emphasizing a big game earlier this season.

“We played up our game against Atwater as a big game and our kids came out to amped up,” Snapp said. “We definitely felt we left one on the field that night. We thought it was a game we should have won. Our mind-set is to not to let that happen again.”

Friday’s matchup pits Pacheco’s explosive offense against a Mountain House defense that has only surrendered over 20 points in a game once this season.

The Panthers come in averaging 52 points per game. That average has jumped up to just under 60 points per game in their four WAC games.

“That’s something we look at,” Snapp said. “I think they hang their hat on their defense. I think what stands out to me is they do a really good job of shortening the game. They want to make it a seven or eight possession game.”

Pacheco has hit teams with big plays all season. Senior quarterback Marcus Ordunez has turned in an MVP like season with 11 touchdown passes to go along with 12 touchdowns on the ground.

Running backs Ronnie Garcia and Julian Moran have helped carry the rushing load for the Panthers’ veer-option attack.

Pacheco has never won a league championship in football.

“I think that’s something these kids have been working toward,” Snapp said. “They want to be the first team in school history to do something like this.”

Golden Valley continues making strides

Golden Valley is enjoying a nice turn-around season after going 0-10 last year. First-year coach Rick Martinez and his Cougars improved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the Central California Conference with a 27-21 victory at Atwater on Friday night.

Martinez has helped the Cougars be successful by focusing on smaller goals.

“Last week we won our first homecoming game since 2006,” Martinez said. “(Friday) we won our second consecutive (Central California Conference) game for the first time since I don’t know when. We’re really working on small goals.”

The last time Golden Valley won back-to-back CCC games was in 2007 when they defeated Atwater and Los Banos.

The Cougars win keep their playoff hopes alive. Golden Valley is on the playoff bubble in Division III with three games remaining.

Merced winning turnover battle

One of the biggest reasons for Merced’s 4-6 season last year was turnovers. The Bears turned the ball over 24 times in 10 games.

Merced has held onto the ball this year, turning the ball over only six times in seven games. The Bears didn’t turn the ball over during Friday night’s 55-14 win over Buhach Colony. That’s Merced’s third clean slate this season.

Meanwhile, the Bears have come up with 14 turnovers on defense and special teams.

The biggest turn around is quarterback Dhameer Warren. The Bears start threw 14 interceptions last year. Warren has yet to throw a pick this year in 58 attempts. Warren has thrown 10 touchdowns.

Shawn Jansen: 209-385-2462, @MSSsports