Watch highlights from Gregori’s 47-14 victory over Modesto
Gregori High football coach Jason McCoy didn’t have any magic words to inspire his team at halftime on Friday.
“We just told our guys keep doing what we’re doing, keep pounding the rock,” McCoy said.
Not only did Gregori pound the rock, but the Jaguars pounded Modesto High, scoring 40 second-half points en route to a 47-14 victory in both teams’ Central California Athletic League opener.
“We knew we were close and what we wanted to do was keep pounding it,” McCoy said. “Some good things happened tonight.”
And nearly all of those good things came in the second half.
Modesto played Gregori even through the first two quarters (it was 7-7 at halftime), but things changed quickly in the third.
Isaac Herman got things going for the Jaguars, returning the opening kickoff of the second half 71 yards for a touchdown.
After a Gregori interception, a long pass play set up Herman for his second TD of the game, a 3-yard run. The sophomore running back rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
Trey Longstreth’s 67-yard interception return for a TD put the game out of reach at 35-7.
Gregori quarterback Baker Melendez had a 1-yard TD run and a 50-yard TD pass to Longstreth. Jaguars junior Titus Rhiney rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
“It just kind of collapsed,” Modesto coach Brett Wagner said. “I think it was a combination of things. We got tired; and our heads weren’t in the right place.”
Gregori’s defense limited Modesto star running back Zaire Eugene to 69 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Sophomore running back James Hayes had 83 yards on 11 carries for the Panthers.
Gregori won the final Modesto Metro Conference title last year, and the Jaguars (4-2 overall) are hoping to become the first champions of the all-new CCAL. To do that, they’ll have to play a full game the way they did the second half against Modesto (4-2).
After losing their first two games of the season against Central California Conference powers Buhach Colony and Merced, the Jaguars have rattled off four straight wins.
They’ll travel to Turlock to take on unbeaten Pitman next Friday, face Downey at home on Oct. 12, then head back to Turlock to take on the CCAL favorite Bulldogs.
“It only gets harder,” McCoy said. “The CCAL is legit and we know every week is going to be a challenge.”
Modesto will have to bounce back quickly, with a game at home against Turlock next Friday at Downey High.
The Panthers certainly have the weapons to contend with anyone in the CCAL, but the lack of depth leaves Modesto thin. The Panthers have eight players that play both ways, and that seemed to cost them in the second half on Friday.