PATTERSON For the second week in a row, Patterson High beat a team from Los Banos to keep intact its perfect season.
However, Friday's 21-14 victory over Pacheco was much tougher than its defeat of Los Banos High.
The Tigers' victory wasn't sealed until Brandon Williams picked off a Pacheco pass on the Patterson 40-yard line with 1 minute, 41 seconds left in the game.
"Our defense played great," said Patterson coach Nick Marchy. "We were rotating guys, and it worked. We lost our free safety (Damarrio Hammonds) half way through the game with a hip stinger, and we put 3 (Williams) in his spot."
Another interception gave Patterson its third, and ultimately decisive touchdown, when Ruben Rosas caught a tipped Juwan Epperson pass and weaved his way 18 yards into the end zone with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
"We've got to play better, plain and simple," said Pacheco coach David Snapp.
Patterson improved to 8-0 overall, 4-0 in the Western Athletic Conference.
Next week, Patterson takes on Livingston before closing out the regular season in Modesto against Central Catholic.
Patterson quarterback Damien Paulo completed 10 of 22 passes for 224 yards. He tossed an interception on the Pacheco 25-yard line with 2 minutes left in the game, but Pacheco (6-3, 3-2) wasn't able to capitalize.
Defensive back Maurice Harden, who was burned on an Avion Warmsley touchdown earlier in the game, stepped in front of his receiver for the jump ball.
The teams went into halftime tied 7-7, but Patterson scored on the first play from scrimmage in the second half on a 70-yard Daniel Kelepi reception from Paulo. Kelepi caught the pass near the sideline on an out route about 10 yards down the field and outraced the secondary.
"All I saw was nobody on me," Kelepi said. "The safety crept up on our slot, and Damien gave me the eye. At first, I was just going for the first down, but after I got that, I wanted to score for my brothers."
Marchy said, as far as he knows, it's the first time a Patterson team has been 8-0. The mark includes a 28-10 win over Los Banos last week.
"All this hard work since eighth grade we've been talking about it," said Kelepi, a senior. "We want to make the class of '14 the best class for this school."
Featured Panther running back Frank Ginda played with his left hand in a cast after suffering a spiral fracture in his wrist.
"(It bothered him) maybe a little bit," Snapp said. "He couldn't use his stiff-arm, but he still ran hard. Even one-handed, he's still the best player on the field."
Ginda scored both of Pacheco's touchdowns on 1-yard runs.