High School Football

Deep Pacheco team runs over Dos Palos

Pacheco's Frank Ginda, left, and Robert Ricks tackle Dos Palos running back Raphael Stewart during the first quarter of their game Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Los Banos on Friday, Sept. 13, 2014.
Pacheco's Frank Ginda, left, and Robert Ricks tackle Dos Palos running back Raphael Stewart during the first quarter of their game Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Los Banos on Friday, Sept. 13, 2014. Dave Witte

All summer, Pacheco football coach David Snapp preached to his players that with so much depth in the skill positions, they will have to make the most of limited touches.

His running backs did just that in Friday’s 51-7 victory over Dos Palos, with 11 players carrying the ball and five of them – Moffat Teneng, Carlos Garcia, Kalama Kamoku, Deontae Smith and Frank Ginda – scoring rushing touchdowns. Garcia and Smith had two each.

“My guys understand it. We have a lot of guys that can touch the football,” Snapp said. “Some games you’re going to touch it twice, some games you may get 15 touches. You just have to be ready.”

“ ‘We are one’ means something here. That’s important to us. Our kids buy into the team atmosphere, they buy into the no-stats thing, and that’s really what we’re working on.”

Pacheco’s top rusher was Garcia, who racked up 98 yards on four carries. Garcia played the first quarter at quarterback instead of starter Juwan Epperson, who was benched at the game’s start due to disciplinary reasons. Epperson returned in the second quarter to complete six of nine passes for 99 yards.

Most of Dos Palos’ offense ran through one man – running back Raphael Stewart, who finished the night with 96 tough yards on 29 carries. The Broncos only made it into the end zone once, though, when Jacob Baker found an opening in the coverage long enough to catch a 7-yard touchdown pass from Ozzie Suarez in the second quarter.

“I think we have more athletes than they do,” Snapp said. “I knew they were going to play hard, and they did – they hit our guys. We had a couple of our guys get their bells rung, and luckily, we’re deep in our skill spots.”

Pacheco’s Smith, a sophomore, showed he was a team player on Garcia’s touchdown in the third quarter. Garcia came to the left side on a sweep, where a group of Broncos was waiting to greet him. Smith, a sophomore who scored his first two varsity touchdowns in the second quarter, blocked one player outside, then when Garcia cut inside, Smith was there to spring him with a second block.

“I was just thinking about making a play for my teammate. I knew we had to get in the end zone, so I knew I had to block those two dudes or he wouldn’t have made it,” Smith said. “...I know I’m not going to get as many touches as our senior guys. They have a bright future. Coach always tells me, keep going hard in practice, keep working hard and you’ll get your reps.”

Dos Palos’ offense started strong with a 45-yard pass from Suarez to Nathan Flores that put the Broncos in Pacheco territory, but the drive stalled on the Pacheco 8-yard line with a Garcia sack. Pacheco defensive back Chris Munoz, another sophomore for Pacheco, ended DP’s next drive with an interception at midfield.

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“We’ve got guys that can perform, and you know, there was some stuff going on on Twitter last night that got our guys fired up,” Snapp said. “Our guys play with a chip on their shoulder, they don’t like to be underestimated, and so we really feed off the underdog thing. Hopefully people keep doubting us.”

He said it’s been difficult to keeps his players’ heads out of the clouds with the team getting attention before the season started. He said he just reminded his players that they haven’t won anything yet.

“The best we’ve ever finished in our league is third,” Snapp said. “So until we’ve won a league championship or we’ve made a deep playoff run, we’re still the new kids on the block. People can say, you know, ‘Look at them, they’ve got all kinds of talent.’ But until we do something, we can’t believe the hype everyone else gives us.”

Pacheco (2-1) lost to a hard-hitting Heritage team last week, and will again face a test next Friday when the Panthers travel to Buhach Colony. Smith said the game has a chance to be a statement game for Pacheco.

“We know they’re a powerhouse team,” he said. “So are we, and we’re just going to break through that barrier, because we haven’t beat a powerhouse team in a minute.”

Dos Palos heads into its rivalry game, the Westside War, next Friday against Los Banos in Dos Palos.

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