High School Football

Local Digest: Downey’s Peterson signs with UC Davis; Beyer’s Severe steps down

National Signing Day: Downey’s Bryce Peterson signs with UC Davis

On National Signing Day, Downey High School senior Bryce Peterson signed with UC Davis to further his football career.
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On National Signing Day, Downey High School senior Bryce Peterson signed with UC Davis to further his football career.

It’s finals week at Downey High School, where students are given that last chance to improve their grade.

On Wednesday, in front of his coaches, family, and teammates in Room 1, Knights senior wide receiver Bryce Peterson got to take a break from exams for a special moment.

Signing with UC Davis.

“I was thinking about this (signing) during finals,” Peterson said. “This was my 10th year of football and I have worked so hard and it feels great to finally get here.”

Peterson did it all for the Knights during his career. He played quarterback for three years before switching to wide receiver this year due to a lingering shoulder injury.

“He has been able to do everything for us,” Knights coach Jeremy Plaa said. “He single-handedly (nine receptions, 132 yards, 2 TDs) beat a Gregori team that did a great job against us defensively.”

Peterson, who finished the season with 65 receptions for 748 yards and six touchdowns, is looking forward to joining an Aggies program that advanced to the NCAA FCS Division I quarterfinals.

“(Coaches) treat me like family,” Peterson said. “I feel at home there.”

On the academic side, Peterson plans to major in neurobiology, physiology and behavior.

“I cant wait to get there,” Peterson said.

MJC’s Sauvao signs with Colorado: The University of Colorado has already hit a home run with one former Modesto Junior College player.

In his first year at Colorado, sophomore linebacker Mustafa Johnson (Turlock) led the Buffs with 17.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks and was a Pac-12 Conference’s Honorable Mention. Johnson’s tackles for a loss total was the most by a Colorado player since 1993.

Johnson will be joined by a former MJC teammate as Pirate sophomore offensive lineman Va’atofu Sauvao signed with Colorado on Wednesday.

“In (Sauvao’s) first week of practice, one of the defensive coaches asked if Va’a could calm it down a little bit,” MJC coach Rusty Stivers said. “They were afraid he was going to hurt someone. In my 20 years of coach, I have never seen that happen. He is an absolute steal for Colorado.”

Sauvao, who played two years at MJC in 2016 and 2017 after attending Faga’itua High School in American Samoa, redshirted in 2018 and will have two years of eligibility at Colorado.

Both Johnson and Sauvao were recruited by Colorado’s director of quality control for the offense, Daniel De Prato.

De Prato is a graduate Beyer High School and his dad, Steve, was the head coach at MJC for nine years.

“It means a lot to be back in this area and able to try and get some guys to come out to the University of Colorado,” De Prato said.

Severe steps down as Beyer coach: Longtime Beyer head football coach Doug Severe stepped down recently.

A notice for the coaching vacancy was posted on the Modesto City Schools website on Dec. 6.

The Patriots went 0-10 this year.

Severe, who will remain at the school as the athletic director, is the third Modesto City Schools head football coach to step down in the last two months, joining Gregori’s Jason McCoy and Modesto’s Brett Wagner.


Here is a list of athletes in Stanislaus County and neighboring areas who have reported being signed to four-year schools on athletic scholarships.

Athlete SchoolSport College
RJ SoriaModestoBaseballUniversity of Hawaii Hilo
Justin HinesTurlockBaseballStanislaus State
Casey CarrTurlockBaseballStanislaus State
Ethan HurteTurlockBaseballNevada
Gerardo SoliaCentral ValleyBaseballStanislaus State
Aaron MurphyModesto ChristianBasketballUC Davis
Mavleen MannPitmanCross CountryUC Davis
Bryce PetersonDowneyFootballUC Davis
Va’atofu SauvaoModesto JCFootballColorado
Alison GallantEnochs SoccerSan Jose State
Izzy Shallou-EnesPitmanSoccerSan Jose State
Jocelyn LopezCentral ValleySoccerStanislaus State
Megan DrewTurlockSoccerStanislaus State
Phillip FuentesEnochsSoccerStanislaus State
Morgan LeonardEnochsSoftballStanislaus State
Kylie CoxGregoriSoftballLong Beach State
Maikyla NelsonGregoriSoftballColorado State
Alexis WebbOakdaleSoftballFresno State
Coby McCaigModestoTennisUniversity of Pacific
Emily Vander WeidePitmanVolleyballCal State San Marcos
Tori GallowayModestoVolleyballCal State Los Angeles
Ricky TorresOakdaleWrestlingCal Poly San Luis Obispo
Gabe MartinezOakdaleWrestlingCampbellsville