Central Catholic expected to get NorCal invitation this afternoon

sjansen@mercedsunstar.comDecember 7, 2013 

— After winning its 17th Sac-Joaquin Section title, Central Catholic won’t have to wait long to see who the Raiders will be matched up against in the NorCal Division 4 bowl game.

The CIF will announce the bowl games this afternoon.

The Raiders (12-1) will likely play McClymonds (10-2). The teams were ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the latest CalHiSports NorCal bowl rankings.

It’ll be the third time the two teams have played in the past year. Central Catholic defeated the Warriors 38-24 on Sept. 13 and 42-12 in last year’s NorCal Division 4 bowl game.

The 17th championship is a section record. The Raiders are 17-2 all-time in section final games.

Del Oro is second all-time in championships with nine. Escalon has eight and Hilmar has won six.

Big day for Rice

Raiders senior Jared Rice made an impact on the game.

The tight end/safety put Central Catholic on the board first when he sprinted past the Yellowjackets’ secondary and hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Petlansky to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 49 seconds left in the first half.

Rice also deflected a pass and recorded a sack from his safety position on defense.

Stuck in neutral

It took a while for the Hilmar offense to get on track against the Raiders defense. The Yellowjackets went three-and-out on their first four possessions and then fumbled on first down on their next drive.

Hilmar didn’t record its initial first down until Trent Orozco caught an 8-yard pass from Jonathan O’Brien (13 of 22, 150 yards) with just under a minute left in the first half.

“We just had to keep plugging away,” Hilmar head coach Frank Marques said. “We were trying everything in the playbook. I think we had a little bit of nerves early. This was the first big game for some of these guys.”

Juarez injury

Hilmar offensive lineman Anthony Juarez spent the second half in street clothes after dislocating his right shoulder with 58 seconds to play in the second quarter.

“I knew right away I dislocated my shoulder,” said Juarez. “I’ve done it five or six times since I’ve been in high school. This one took a little longer to put back in. It was starting to feel numb. As soon as it was put back in I started feeling it.”

Ringer’s totals

Senior tailback Matt Ringer, who entered Saturday’s championship with 2,017 yards and 32 touchdowns, now has 2,260 yards and 34 touchdowns after his 40-carry, 243-yard effort against the Yellowjackets.

Ringer broke his helmet midway through the second quarter — likely after a particularly violent collision with Hilmar defensive lineman David Bisby — and spent the next few plays on the sideline trying on helmets that would allow him to return.

Top-tier kickers

This game not only was a matchup between the two best small-school teams in the Stanislaus District, it was a showcase for the two best kickers in the district — Central Catholic’s Kenny Smart and Hilmar’s Devon Medeiros.

Smart, who has kicked a 53-yard FG in a game this year, had a 26-yarder on Saturday, including four kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. Medeiros, who booted a 56-yarder in last week’s 19-15 semifinal win over Center, nailed a 38-yarder against CC and had one touchback.

Seasoned sophomore

Central Catholic quarterback Hunter Petlansky, who saw his first significant action in Week 10 against previously unbeaten Patterson in a showdown for the Western Athletic Conference title, became the rare sophomore to guide his team to a section title. How cool was he on Saturday?

At one point, with coach Roger Canepa blowing his stack over a pass interference call and giving the official an earful, it was the 16-year-old Petlansky who had calmed his coach to get the next play delivered into the huddle.

“This is one of the most remarkable experiences of my life,” said Petlansky. “It’s definitely the biggest game I’ve ever played in.”

My kingdom for a Sharpie

As the teams made their way back on to the field for the second half, the Central Catholic staff was busy looking for something on the sideline.

“Have you seen a green Sharpie,” asked CC defensive coordinator Billy Hylla.

Later, the Raiders’ team trainer found the missing pen and delivered it to the coach.

“You know how it is when you get that one special pen,” Hylla said.

Whew! That could’ve altered the course of the entire season.

“You know it,” quipped Hylla.

Joe Cortez of the Modesto Bee contributed to this report.

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