Three years ago, these seniors from Gregori and Davis high schools shared a locker room and a dream. Even as freshmen, though, they knew they would not be achieving any long-term goals together.
The players were split between schools after going 9-1 their first season, the majority relocating to Gregori in northwest Modesto in 2010.
That promising freshmen class met as seniors Thursday at Downey High, with the new kids on the block knocking off Davis 28-14 behind a 180-yard rushing performance by Darnell McGill.
McGill (10.59 yards), Alex Labanon (11.3) and Jarrell Rogers (10.0) averaged 10 yards or more per carry to rally the Jaguars (2-6, 2-2 Modesto Metro Conference) from a 7-0 second-quarter deficit.
Paired with Davis (1-6, 1-2), the programs are 3-12 overall.
McGill's highlight was a 63-yard dash that helped Gregori establish control, while Labanon (7 carries, 79 yards) ripped off a 23-yard run and Jarrell Rogers (4 carries, 40 yards) had a 22-yard rumble.
“Darnell had the best game of (his) season. He did a nice job running hard and following his blocks,” said Gregori coach Jason McCoy, praising linemen Austin Evans, Tanner Engle, David Silva, Preak Gandhi, Trevor Garcia, and Marcus Patterson.
Davis' Matt Christiansen (12 of 20, 177 yards; 18 carries, 106 yards) tried to keep Davis close by getting the ball in the air, but he ran into problems from an unexpected source.
Gregori's Dom Wash picked off a career-high three passes, while teammates Barker and Ivan Sepulveda grabbed one each. Wash wasn't expected to be in uniform this fall - he moved to Oakland this summer, but returned to Gregori after the season opened and has five interceptions.
Sophomore Nate Phillips was 7 of 11 for 117 yards, tossing a TD to Jesse Barker (38 yards rushing, 57 yards receiving) and running for two.
“Nate is a dual-threat at running and passing,” McCoy said. “The run game set up play-action (passing). He’s growing and maturing as a quarterback week by week.”
Gregori has two games to go and Labanon is close to becoming its first 1,000-yard rusher — it’s only Gregori's second varsity season. He has 757 yards and needs to average 122 yards the next two weeks to reach 1,001 yards.
The schedule benefits Labanon: The Jags finish the season with Beyer and Johansen, teams allowing 29 and 39 points a game, respectively.
Davis junior Monte Jones (11 carries, 111 yards) ran for both the Spartans’ scores.