MODESTO — In what was arguably the game of the regular-season in 2012, Downey High defeated Central Catholic 45-42, handing the Raiders their first loss to a city school in 23 years.
But that was last year, when the Knights were led by senior quarterback Aaron Zwahlen, an NCAA Division I talent who will play at the University of Hawaii when he's completed his Mormon mission.
Downey (2-1) is coming off a 64-21 win over Ceres, while Central Catholic (2-1) turned in a 38-24 win over McClymonds (Oakland) in a rematch of last year's Northern California bowl game. The Raiders advanced to beat Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) for the state Division 4 title.
Central Catholic's only other loss last season was a 48-30 setback to Placer. They Raiders have already avenged that loss, beating the Hillmen 49-13 at Placer in the season opener Aug. 30.
In other matchups tonight:
Merced (2-1) at Enochs (0-3), at Johansen The Eagles face one of the top teams in the Stanislaus District and are in jeopardy of slipping to 0-4. However, Enochs' losses this year have come to Pitman (ranked No. 1 in The Bee's large-school poll), Buhach Colony (the class of the Central California Conference the past three years) and Turlock (ranked No. 2 by The Bee among large schools). Merced will be the fourth CCC team the Eagles have faced this year.
Paraclete (2-1) at Oakdale (0-2) The Mustangs have played a rugged preseason schedule and suffered one-point losses to Turlock and Enterprise, the reigning section champion from the North section. Now they face Paraclete (Lancaster), which lost in the South Section's Division 3 final last year to Monrovia.
Escalon (2-1) at Patterson (3-0) The Cougars and Tigers have had some real battles recently. Escalon has won the last two meetings after Patterson won in 2010 the Cougars' only loss en route to their state title. Expect a physical, hard-hitting affair.