Week 1 | Photography from Modesto area, Merced football fields
Modesto High football coach Brett Wagner had a rough Saturday even before one of his teams got on the bus to head to Clovis for its season-opener.
Actually, there was no bus for the freshman team, which had to forfeit its game against the Cougars.
The junior varsity and varsity teams made the trip for their afternoon/evening games. The varsity Panthers, down 21-14 at the half, lost 42-14.
Early Saturday morning, however, there was a mix-up, and there was no Modesto City School District bus to take the freshman, who were at the school and ready to go at 6:45 a.m. for the 105-mile trek south.
The game was scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m., so the teams could avoid the heat.
“It was kind of a streamroll effect of things,” Wagner said. “I could have done better on my part to double-check on things. The district was really good in trying to work through it. ... The Clovis guys were real understanding.”
Despite the bus mishap and the loss, Wagner was upbeat as his team prepares to play Beyer this Friday at Gregori.
Running back Zaire Eugene rushed for 54 yards on eight carries and junior quarterback Alonzo Rodriguez completed 5 of 9 passes for 144 yards and an interception. Each scored rushing touchdowns.
“I’m proud of our guys,” he said. “(Clovis) had 70 guys on their roster, nearly doubling our team. We have a lot of juniors playing for the first time. So, getting them in for four quarters, I was pleased.”
A BULLDOG PASSES — Rusty Silva, who coached football at Turlock High, died earlier this month at the age of 68. He got his coaching and teaching start at Riverbank High before moving over to Turlock in 1986. He retired from teaching in 2007, but the popular coach continued on the sidelines for another four years. Donations to the Rusty Silva Memorial Scholarship Fund can be made to Turlock High, 1600 W. Canal Drive, Turlock, CA 95381.
ACTUALLY, RECORD SET — Big Valley coach Brian Berkefeld said after watching video of his team’s 47-20 victory over Harker, junior running back Javyn Drobnick broke his school record for rushing yards in a game with 376. It was initially reported he had tied his own mark of 372. Berkefeld found 4 more yards after watching video. Drobnick’s 376 yards were far off the Sac-Joaquin Section record of 555 set by Dallas Bernstine of Bethel against Vintage in 2001. Bethel has moved on to the North Coast Section. The last time the 400-yard mark was broken in the section was in 2015 by two players from outside the Stanislaus District.
RANKING OPPONENTS — It’s no surprise that Central Catholic’s opponent Friday, De La Salle, is ranked No. 1 in the Bay Area News Group’s power ranking. But, there were other local ties to those rankings. Last Friday, Turlock lost 42-35 to Freedom, which is ranked No. 9 in the Bay Area. This Friday, Oakdale plays Archbishop Mitty, which is ranked No. 19. Those two teams meet Saturday at noon at St. Francis High in Mountain View.
SYLVAN CELEBRATION — James Stacy, the coach at Enochs High, said his Eagles were ecstatic following their victory over Beyer in the Sylvan Avenue Bowl. The two campuses on Sylvan Avenue are separated by about two miles — one (Beyer) to the west of Oakdale Road and the other to the east (Enochs). “At the end of the game when they brought the trophy to us, you would have thought we had won the Super Bowl.”
BIG GAME AHEAD — Downey High coach Jeremy Plaa said he expects a much bigger test for his Knights when they travel to Manteca High to play the Buffaloes. Downey is coming off a 39-19 victory over East Union that saw solid performances from both his quarterbacks, who rotated series throughout the game against the Lancers. “(Playing Manteca) is a big challenge, and I don’t know if our kids know what they’re heading into,” he said. Manteca, Oakdale and Central Catholic are the three elites of the powerful Valley Oak League. He said his quarterbacks, junior Bryce Gouker and freshman Beau Green, can expect to see a lot more blitzing and pressure this Friday than they saw last Friday against East Union. He did say those two see that type of heat when playing against the talented Downey defense in practice.
NEWS AND NOTES — In its 21-0 victory over Clovis West, Central Catholic threw just seven times, completing three passes ... The Modesto Quarterback Club, which meets every Monday at noon at the Coaches Corner on Oakdale Road, gathers local high school football coaches together to talk about their games. Next week, the tradition of having at least one player from a school begins. First school up? Gregori, which will try to avoid an 0-2 start on Friday against Merced. ... For the third straight year, Central Valley Automotive is sponsoring a $10,000 worth of scholarships (Gold, $5,000; Silver, $3,000 and Bronze ($2,000) for area football players based on performance, academics and community service. Go to www.modbee.com/playerwithdrive to enter.