High School Football

Duran, Buhach Colony bounce back in win over Pacheco

Nate Duran isn’t asked to throw much in Buhach Colony’s run-first offense.

But the quarterback made the most of his opportunities on Friday night, throwing two long touchdown passes and rushing in another as the Thunder held off Pacheco 24-21 at Falcon Field.

“We know what Nate is capable of doing,” said Buhach Colony head coach Kevin Navarra, whose team improved to 3-1. “When we give him the opportunity and give him the time, he can make plays. I know he’d love to throw more, but we trust him. We knew we would need him tonight because they were going to try to stop the run.”

Like the rest of his teammates, Duran had to put a tough 36-35 loss to Clovis North behind him. Duran fumbled late in the game to help set up a Clovis North touchdown.

“Fumbles are normal, they’re going to happen,” Duran said. “You can’t dwell on it. You’ve got to be able to move on or it’s going to eat at you and mess you up.”

Duran was on his game from the start as he engineered a 13-play, 71-yard drive that he capped with a 5-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal to give the Thunder a 7-0 lead.

The lead didn’t last long as Pacheco quarterback Juwan Epperson needed just one play to answer. He raced 65 yards for a score to tie the game at 7-7.

Duran put the Thunder back in front when he found Aundre Sherman open down the left sideline. Sherman hauled in the pass, cut inside to evade the safety and outraced the cornerback to the end zone for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.

“I saw their corner come up and play Aundre tight and that’s not very smart,” Duran said. “I just let the ball go and I let Aundre do his thing.”

The Panthers (2-2) answered again. This time it was Miguel Cintora scoring on a 12-yard run, but Pacheco’s extra-point attempt was blocked to give the Thunder a 14-13 lead.

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The Panthers’ problem all night was fumbles. Pacheco put the ball on the ground seven times, turning the ball over three times.

“We hadn’t had turnover problems all year, it came out of nowhere,” Pacheco head coach David Snapp said.

Buhach was able to put the game away in the fourth quarter when Duran found Logan Lemas for a 37-yard touchdown pass and Sherman nailed a 45-yard field goal to extend the lead to 24-13 with 2:38 left.

The Thunder could be without Sherman against St. Mary‘s in two weeks. The Buhach Colony star was ejected after he was penalized for targeting a receiver on a hard hit late in the fourth quarter. An ejection from a game also carries with it a one game suspension per CIF rules.

Navarra said he’ll attempt to appeal the ruling.

“I didn’t like the call that late in the game,” Navarra said. “It was a big hit. I didn’t thing he was targeting.”

Epperson found Jose Delacruz for a late touchdown and the Panthers cut the lead to 24-21 with 40 seconds left, but Buhach Colony recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

The Panthers played without running back/linebacker Kalama Kamoku since late in the first quarter. Kamoku injured his knee on a 33-yard run.

“I think he’ll be all right,” Snapp said. “It was the same knee he hurt last year and we just wanted to be safe. He’ll get it checked out.”

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