High School Football

Roundup: Close games get away from Downey, Big Valley Christian

Playing without its starting quarterback, the 11th-seeded Downey High football team was knocked out of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs by No. 6 Rocklin.

The Knights kept the game close for a half, but mistakes in the third quarter doomed the third-place finisher in the Modesto Metro Conference. Rocklin scored 27 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 37-7 win.

Downey trailed at the half, 10-7.

Rocklin travels No. 3 Central Catholic next week, while Downey limps into the offseason.

It was a nightmarish final month for the Knights, who lost their last three games and failed to retain at least a share of the MMC title for the first time in six seasons. Downey began 8-0 with impressive wins over Buhach Colony, Patterson and Pitman, but a stunning loss to Modesto sent Jeremy Plaa's team into a tailspin.

Still, with a chance to earn a piece of the league title, the Knights blew an 11-point fourth-quarter lead in a loss to Gregori in their regular-season finale. Junior quarterback Bryce Peterson suffered a shoulder injury in that defeat and was unavailable to play Thursday's game from under center.

Instead, Downey rotated sophomores under center against a Sierra Foothill League heavyweight.

Hunter Gonzalez scored two rushing touchdowns, Sawyer Skerl opened the game with a 75-yard dash to paydirt, and Richard Purvis kicked three field goals for the Thunder. Downey didn't help its own cause, fumbling once on a kickoff and throwing one interception, according to statistics reported to MaxPreps.

Woodland Christian 17, Big Valley Christian 15: The Lions came within minutes of advancing to the second round of the Division VII playoffs, but Woodland Christian turned a fumble into the game-winning points.

Leading 15-10, Big Valley Christian appeared poised to make it a two-score game but fumbled on a third-and-2 in Woodland Christian territory.

That's all the Cardinals (10-1) needed.

"Well-coached team," Big Valley Christian coach Brian Berkefeld said. "It was a very physical game."

Caleb van Donselaar had 135 rushing yards and one touchdown. Gunnar Selover threw for 128 yards and a touchdown to Jared Thompson, who finished with 70 receiving yards.

After matching the best start in school history with nine straight wins to start the season, Big Valley Christian lost its final two games.