Jay Green paused his video game and let the football season – with its championship scenarios, burden of expectation and fiercely drawn battle lines – rush back into his life.
Thanks to a string of six 100-yard rushing games to start the season, including a season-high 276 against Gregori, the Beyer senior has positioned himself near the front in the chase for the Stanislaus District’s rushing title.
But Green, with an Xbox controller in his hands, his feet up and his mind in a million other places,was the picture of relaxation during the Patriots’ recent bye.
The Beyer coaching staff scheduled only two practices last week, allowing the players a chance to recharge their batteries for the stretch run in the wide-open Modesto Metro Conference.
The Patriots are 2-1 in the MMC with three games remaining and tied with Downey and Enochs for second place behind Modesto.
The escape of video games helped Green move past one the worst rushing performances of his career.
Enochs held the record-setting back to 40 yards before knocking him out of the game in the third quarter. Green compensated with more than 100 receiving yards on a night when Beyer burned its up-the-street neighbor with short passes and screens.
“I look at those (rushing) stats and think, ‘Man, that’s not me,’ ” Green said. “I know I got over 100 yards receiving, but the rushing yards are what I’m going for. The team win kind of blurs all of that out, though, so I’m not tripping all that much.”
With his game still paused, Green wasn’t “tripping all that much” about a quick Q&A with The Bee, either.
Q: You’ve won two straight and appear to be playing some of your best football. Bad time for a bye?
Answer: In a sense, yeah. It slows down the momentum and it slows down practices. It slows down that chemistry we had going. So, in retrospect, it is a bad time, but it also gives us a chance to relax and not let the hype get to our heads. It gives us a chance to heal. It has its pros and cons.
Q: What was the focus of the bye week?
A: To take it easy, really. A lot of our guys are banged up. We only had two days of practice (last) week. One was light and the other was minimal; just a little scrimmage. We didn’t focus on football so much as this was our time to recover. It was good. It calmed things down and let us heal up.
Q: You were limited to a season-low 40 rushing yards in the Sylvan Bowl victory over Enochs, but you were also your team’s best receiver. Did you see an opportunity to exploit Enochs with short passes and screens?
A: That was the coaches. They knew they were going to put eight and nine people in the box. We worked on passing a lot more than we ever have in practice. If the run opened up then it opened up, but we knew it would be difficult to run against them. We knew they’d try to shut down the outside, because that’s what we killed them with last season. The key was going to be passing.
Q: How’s the shoulder? (Editor’s note: Green left the Sylvan Bowl in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.)
A: It was a stinger. Since we were winning, the coaches took me out. It was one of those things that if there was no need for me to go in, why not let others get time to play.
Q: With three weeks left, the MMC title remains up for grabs. Did you expect it to be this close?
A: I expected it to be close, but I didn’t expect there to be so many teams. I thought it would come down to us and Downey. Now that we have Modesto High up there, it’s setting up like it could be a three-way. It’s been a lot of fun. It was the same situation when I was a sophomore, but things didn’t go our way. Hopefully, we can pull it out with a co-championship. That would be a great way to end it.
Q: Your team was picked by some to be in this position. Late in the summer, coach Doug Severe warned you and your teammates not to read your own headlines. All these weeks later, how have you managed expectation?
A: We’re not trying to get ahead of ourselves. That’s what we did at the beginning of the season. We thought everything would be handed to us like the papers said. We’re trying to take it game by game, one day at a time. It’s like coach said in his last interview, we’re just focusing on Davis.
Q: You finish with an interesting schedule – Davis and Johansen, the conference’s bottom two teams, sandwiched around Modesto, the front-runner. How do you keep your team from looking past Davis to Modesto?
A: We look back at that Downey-Johansen game. We thought Downey would blow out Johansen, but Johansen led three or four times in that game. It was a wake-up call for us. You can’t take any team lightly. That could be their chance to step up and hit you where it hurts. It was good for us to reflect off that game.
Friday, Oct. 23
Modesto Metro Conference
Davis at Beyer (Downey), 7 p.m.
Gregori at Johansen, 7 p.m.
Modesto at Enochs (Gregori), 7:30 p.m.
Central California Conference
Buhach Colony at Merced, 7 p.m.
Golden Valley at Pitman, 7 p.m.
Turlock at Atwater, 7 p.m.
Valley Oak League
Sierra at Central Catholic, 7 p.m.
Lathrop at Manteca, 7 p.m.
Oakdale at Weston Ranch, 7:15 p.m.
East Union at Kimball, 7:15 p.m.
Western Athletic Conference
El Capitan at Central Valley, 7 p.m.
Livingston at Los Banos, 7 p.m.
Pacheco at Patterson, 7 p.m.
Hilmar at Hughson, 7:30 p.m.
Modesto Christian at Ripon, 7:30 p.m.
Mountain House at Escalon, 7:30 p.m.
Mother Lode League
Argonaut at Linden, 7:30 p.m.
Calaveras at Summerville, 7:30 p.m.
Sonora at Amador, 7:30 p.m.
Delhi at Waterford, 7:30 p.m.
Denair at Ripon Christian, 7:30 p.m.
Le Grand at Orestimba, 7:30 p.m.
Mariposa at Gustine, 7:30 p.m.
Central California Athletic Alliance
Sierra Ridge/ROP at Stone Ridge Christian, 7 p.m.
Delta at Big Valley Christian, 7 p.m.
Riverbank at Bret Harte, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24
Central California Athletic Alliance
Turlock Christian at Millennium, 7 p.m.