Blocked PAT attempt gave Turlock football team winning edge against Modesto

jcortez@modbee.comSeptember 25, 2013 

With the conference season opening for most teams, The Bee's Joe Cortez, Brian VanderBeek and Ron Agostini offer their picks for conference champons, including the Modesto Metro Conference and the rugged Trans-Valley League. (Brian Clark/bclark@modbee.com)

MODESTO BEE

— Turlock High's Jevan Hogan had an up-and-down night last Thursday during the Bulldogs' 41-40 non-conference victory over longtime rival Modesto.

Hogan, a senior, committed a costly fumble but he also busted loose for a 55-yard touchdown run. In the end, Hogan's ups outweighed his downs, and the play that tipped the balance was his block of a Modesto extra-point attempt.

Midway through the fourth quarter, after Panthers quarterback Tiki Tonga scored to make it 41-34 and Modesto lined up for the PAT that would've made it 41-35.

But Jevan Hogan burst through Modesto's line and blocked Jose Gonzalez's attempt, keeping it a 7-point spread.

That was key.

If Modesto scored again — which they did, on Byron Jenkins' TD with just over a minute to play — the Panthers would be faced with a decision: Kick the PAT and force overtime, or go for 2 and the victory. Had Hogan not blocked the earlier PAT, Modesto would've had no decision to make. The Panthers would've lined up for a potential game-winning PAT kick.

"It was just timing and patience," said the the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Hogan. "Normally, I line up in a four-point stance, but this time I was standing up, and I just got a good jump."

He also got an assist from teammate Jacob Mabie.

"We talk about creating a real tight edge," said Turlock coach James Peterson. "Jevan asked (Jacob) to push the edge in and it gave him a more direct shot at the kicker. It was a huge play."

Without it, the Bulldogs are 3-1, not undefeated, heading into this week's game against West Valley (Cottonwood).

• HERE COMES BROWN — The Stanislaus District's career rushing record is 5,140 yards, held by Central Catholic's Louis Bland (2004-07). Prior to the start of the 2013 season, two running backs — Central Valley's Ja'Quan Gardner and Orestimba's Steven Machado — had realistic shots at breaking the mark. Machado played for the first time last week after suffering a hamstring injury in Week Zero, and is out of the running. Gardner remains on pace to break the record.

However, a darkhorse has emerged at Ripon Christian.

Running back Andrew Brown, who rushed for 1,718 yards as a sophomore and 1,410 as a junior, has totaled 407 through three games this season. That gives him 3,535 (a school record) for his career, leaving him 1,606 yards shy of breaking Bland's mark. Brown has seven games remaining — and probably at least one playoff game — meaning he needs to average about 201 yards per game to surpass Bland.

Then again, even if he does surpass 5,140, Gardner could be extending a new district record beyond Brown's reach.

Should be exciting to watch it unfold.

• WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE — Speaking of Ja'Quan Gardner, he's on pace for 1,705 rushing yards this season, which would allow him to break Louis Bland's record by 111 yards. He'll be sure to face a challenge in Central Catholic. The Raiders, who last season held Gardner to 82 yards, about half of his average during 2012, are one of the best teams in the state and you can bet they'll be out to protect the record of a favored alum. Two Raiders who might have a little extra incentive will be linebackers Reggie Bland (senior) and Montell Bland (freshman), Louis' younger brothers.

Montell is the first freshman to play varsity at Central Catholic since Louis in 2004. And he's just the second freshman ever called up to the varsity by current CC coach Roger Canepa.

"He's good," Canepa said of Montell. "He can play."

The first freshman called up by Canepa? Quarterback Josh Thornburg at Calaveras High School in 1999.

• SYLVAN BOWL BLUNDER — Beyer hosts Enochs on Friday night in the annual Sylvan Bowl. The schools, separated by less than 2 miles, agreed years ago to play for a perpetual trophy. The Eagles won the game last year, but never received the trophy from their rivals. That's because then first-year Patriots coach Bill Flesher didn't know about the existence of such a trophy.

"Nobody told him he was supposed to bring the trophy," said Enochs coach James Stacy, whose team will be searching for its first victory of the season Friday. "He didn't know so the trophy just stayed over there."

• NEW DIGS FOR 'THE CHIEF' — One of the coolest perpetual trophies in the Stanislaus District is The Chief, a 5-foot tall wood sculpture of a Native American chief holding a football. The Warriors and Redskins have been playing for The Chief since 1987, and Gustine took home the statue for the first time in nine seasons. The Redskins now lead the series 33-32-2.

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