Ruben Rosas scored his second touchdown of the game for what appeared to be a tying touchdown against Modesto High, but Alex Gebbing’s try for the extra point sailed wide left and the Panthers held on Friday to beat Patterson 21-20 in a non-conference matchup.
But make no mistake, Modesto didn’t win this game because the Tigers missed an extra point. No, the Panthers improved to 3-0 on the season thank to the arm and legs of senior quarterback Nathan Phillips, who turned in his third big performance in as many weeks, rushing for 211 yards while throwing for 149. In the season opener, Phillips completed 12 of 14 for 214 yards and ran for 141. Last week, he completed 17 of 21 for 348 yards and ran for 101.
“Patterson did a great job of taking away our passing game,” said Phillips, who had to sit out all of last season due the Sac-Joaquin Section’s intra-district transfer rule. “Their defensive ends were crashing hard, but our guys did a great job of staying with their blocks and opening up some cutback lanes.”
Seemingly, every time the Panthers faced a third-and-crucial, Phillips was there to pick it up.
“We’re not getting a lot of bang between the tackles from our running game, and Nate’s been filling in,” said Modesto coach Richie Alkire, Phillips’ father. “I’m so proud of all the kids.
“You know, we have a lot that we need to clean up, but the good sign is that we’re winning in different ways.”
After Antonio Perez scored to put Modesto ahead 21-7 with 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Patterson (2-1) turned things around quickly.
Quarterback Damien Paulo (13-for-23, 227 yards) scored on a sneak from the one and Gebbing’s PAT made it 21-14 with 10 minutes, 23 seconds, to play.
The Tigers forced Modesto to punt on its next possession and took over on its own 33 with 6:24 left.
After an intentional grounding penalty by Paulo, the Tigers faced second-and-34 from its own 38. Amazingly, they picked it up when Paulo hit Damarrio Hammonds for a gain of 37 to the 25. After a holding infraction backed it up 10 yards – both teams were flagged 15 times – Paulo hit Ruben Rosas (the junior) for 32 yards to the 3. It was an amazing catch, as a Modesto defender picked it off, but Rosas ripped it from his hands on the way down.
Ruben Rosas (the senior) ran it from 1 with 3:28 to go to make it 21-20, setting up the fateful PAT.
The Tigers played without running back Michael Lawson, who ran for 200-plus yards in the season opener against Escalon and more than 100 last week in a win over Ripon. Lawson tweaked his knee, but should be ready next week. Nevertheless, Antonio Vazquez filled in nicely, rushing for 101 yards on 17 attempts.
“We missed having Lawson on both sides of the ball,” said Patterson coach Nick Marchy. “Then we lost Alec (Espos) with an injured clavicle, so right there we’re without our two starting corners.
“Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to lose a game. We’ll find out who we are on Monday.”
The Panthers found out who it was Friday night, and they’re more than just Phillips.
“That’s another think people are missing,” said Alkire. “We play defense. Our kids fly to the ball and are really athletic. I feel we’re a little of ahead of schedule on that side of the ball.”
Modesto and Patterson will each face Central California Conference opponents next week, as the Tigers play host to Atwater, while Modesto welcomes Turlock to Downey’s Chuck Hughes Stadium in one of the oldest rivalries in the Stanislaus District.
Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2014/09/13/3536071/phillips-helps-modesto-outlast.html?sp=/99/1744/#storylink=cpy