High School Football

Mistakes costly to Downey late in first half in playoff defeat to Inderkum

The end of Downey High’s football season came suddenly in the second quarter on Friday night.

With about five minutes left in the half, the Knights saw their 14-13 lead over unbeaten Inderkum become a 35-14 deficit.

By the time it was over, the Knights had fallen 69-29, concluding their season at 7-5.

“(Inderkum) is good,” Downey coach Jeremy Plaa said. “They have a lot of speed. The game just got away from us.”

While Downey looks to next season, the Tigers travel to Modesto on Friday for a game against Central Catholic in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinal.

“We took another step forward with a first-round playoff win,” Plaa said by phone after the game. “But we have to keep on improving.”

Bryce Gouker threw four touchdown passes to guide the Downey offense.

He hit Ethan Difuntorum on an 8-yard scoring pass to put the Knights in front 7-0 and Anderson Grover on a 37-yarder with seven minutes left before halftime to put his team ahead 14-13.

Inderkum scored the next 22 points before halftime, aided by two Downey turnovers.

In the second half, Gouker connected with Javon Gamez on a 78-yard pass play and Grover again to close out the scoring.

Plaa said he felt his team improved by playing in the new, six-team Central California Athletic League. The CCAL features four of Modesto’s largest football programs along with Turlock and Pitman.

“(The CCAL) made us better because we played a much tighter schedule,” Plaa said. “We were playing five other teams who challenged us in different ways. We didn’t have any for-sure wins. It made us focus throughout the week. There’s a collective benefit to playing good teams week in and week out.”

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