Central Catholic High football coach Roger Canepa summed up his team’s 41-13 victory over Beyer on Friday night in just three words.
“It’s a win,” Canepa said.
A week after losing a heartbreaker to St. Mary’s in the annual Holy Bowl, that’s all Canepa was concerned with.
“Was it pretty? Probably not,” Canepa said. “We could’ve been so much better. But it’s a win.”
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The Raiders (2-1) overcame the early loss of standout sophomore running back Montell Bland to cruise past an overmatched Beyer team.
Bland started quickly, slashing through the Patriots defense for a couple of big gains, but on his third carry – a 20-yard burst – he didn’t get up and he never returned. When the second half started Bland was out of his pads sporting an ankle brace.
After Bland went out, Kalhiel Dillard stepped up. Dillard, a senior who missed six games last season with a shoulder injury, carried the ball 10 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns, with all of his scores coming in the first half.
Dillard said he knew when Bland went down, he would have to step up his game.
“It’s just about taking advantage of your opportunity,” said Dillard, who scored on runs of 6, 3 and 62 yards. “It feels good to be back. I feel good.”
That final score came on the next play from scrimmage after Beyer had closed the Central Catholic lead to 14-7. Dillard burst around the left side of the Beyer defense and took off, essentially icing the game in the second quarter.
The Raiders never looked back, making the most of Beyer’s inability to hold on to the ball. Bryce Wade added two field goals late in the second quarter to give the Raiders a 27-7 halftime lead.
Jay Green’s 96-yard touchdown run in the fourth gave the Patriots (1-3) their only real highlight of the second half.
The diminutive Green – a 5-foot-8, 170-pound junior – continues to impress. He doesn’t need much of a hole and he proved tough for the Central Catholic defense to take down.
Green finished with 233 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries and he gives Beyer hope as it begins its Modesto Metro Conference schedule next week against Downey.
“He’s a good back,” Beyer coach Doug Severe said. “He runs hard; he runs with all of his heart.”
The Patriots will need to find a passing game to go with Green’s running, however. And Beyer will need to do a better job of holding on to the ball.
“We were able to move the ball,” Severe said. “We need to be more efficient.”
Central Catholic did what it needed to do against Beyer, but the Raiders know they’ll have to be better on the next two Fridays as they open Valley Oak League play with powerhouses Manteca (3-0) and Sierra (3-0).
Of course, having Bland back will help.
“It looks like Montell will be ready to go next week,” Canepa said. “We play a tough schedule with 33 kids. Nothing’s easy.”