In the past 12 months, Central Catholic’s football team has twice beaten McClymonds (Oakland) – once in last year’s CIF Division 4 Northern California bowl game and once this regular season.
These Warriors, however, just won’t go away.
The Raiders (13-1) will face McClymonds (10-2) for a third time tonight in the CIF Northern California bowl at Stockton’s Lincoln High School, with a spot in next week’s state championship game on the line.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and the weather forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 40s at game time.
“I feel good about it,” Warriors coach Michael Peters said during an interview with Phil Jensen of the Bay Area News Group. “We are familiar with each other. We played them tough this year. I think it will be a real good game.”
Thanks largely to the exploits of tailback Matt Ringer (40 carries, 272 yards), the Raiders turned an 18-14 third-quarter deficit against McClymonds into a 38-24 victory. Still, you got the feeling that Central Catholic head coach Roger Canepa was comfortable.
“Seriously, that’s a scary football team,” said Canepa after the Sept. 13 victory.
Central fumbled a punt that was recovered by the Warriors, but the play was nullified by a roughing-the-kicker penalty. The momentum swing, plus excellent field position, might have resulted in a McClymonds touchdown. Later, the Warriors intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown ... but that play was called back, too.
And there’s your 14-point margin.
To have a shot tonight, McClymonds will have to figure out a way to stop Ringer (2,260 yards, 33 TDs), who has rushed for 200-plus yards the past two weeks against Ripon and Hilmar – two of the top defenses in the Stanislaus District. Ringer gashed McClymonds for 272 yards and four scores back in September.
“... Their running game really took control and took possession of the clock,” Peters added.
McClymonds’ Lavance Warren carried the ball 24 times for 200 yards against Central Catholic, though his last 11 carries of the night produced just 30 yards.
After losing to Menlo on Oct. 4 – the Warriors demonstrated their explosiveness by scoring 28 points in about 6 minutes to tie the score 40-40 before losing on a late touchdown – McClymonds went on to dominate the Oakland Athletic League.
The Warriors averaged better than 44 points per game while yielding less than seven, but it should be pointed out that their OAL opponents finished the season with a combined record of 15-37.
“We are going to fight all the way to the last second,” Peters said.