High School Football

Forced to forfeit win over Modesto, Beyer used the experience to heal a divided team

Beyer’s Blake Albino makes a catch as Enochs’ Aggee Tombe defends at Downey High School in Modesto, Calif., Friday, Aug. 23, 2019.
Beyer’s Blake Albino makes a catch as Enochs’ Aggee Tombe defends at Downey High School in Modesto, Calif., Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. aalfaro@modbee.com

They could finally celebrate.

On Aug. 30, Beyer beat Modesto, 20-14, for the school’s first win since Oct. 27, 2017.

After 12 straight losses and an 0-10 season in 2018, the Patriots had experienced winning again.

Two and a half weeks later, first-year coach Greg Bockman summoned the team for a meeting before the Los Banos game. He would relay the news that Beyer would have to forfeit its victory due to a paperwork issue.

“That day was probably one of the worst days I have had since taking the job,” Bockman said. “I didn’t want to tell them and they were devastated.”

The Patriots were now 0-3 with their other losses to Enochs and Gregori.

Bockman told the team they had two ways they could handle the news.

“We could complain about this or we could take this out on every team,” he said.

They did the latter.

In the last two games, the Patriots (2-0, 2-3) have outscored their opponents, 57-7 and are atop the Western Athletic Conference with Johansen (2-0, 4-1). Beyer plays at Lathrop (1-1, 1-4) on Friday,

“We came out working harder,” Patriots lineman senior lineman Jalen Munoz said.

Bockman and Munoz said the team has become closer since the forfeit, and it’s been evident in practice.

“Their work ethic has kicked up a notch,” Bockman said. “They are very intense and focused and have taken the news personal.”

The experience also helped a team that was divided during spring workouts. There were two groups coming off of last season — the successful 10-0 junior varsity players who were called up and the returners from last year’s winless varsity team.

Basically, the upperclassmen felt early on they weren’t getting any respect.

“It was really rough,” Munoz said. “It was hard mixing.”

Bockman said the team had a few clashes and the group took awhile to trust each other.

Senior running back and linebacker Sean Perkins said the issues ended during summer conditioning.

With a new coach and talented skill players, the Patriots were confident heading into their season-opener against Enochs, the last team they had beat back in 2017.

However, Beyer lost 28-6 and the issues returned.

“We felt we had a good game plan and we were pushed around,” Bockman said. “There was a little bickering back and forth at practice the following week.”

Despite their Week 3 loss to Gregori — which came after the lost victory over Modesto — Munoz saw potential, especially in a defense that held Gregori to its second-lowest output (19 points) this season.

Perkins said Bockman has brought energy to the team and after missing last year due to hip surgery, he made the victory-clinching tackle against Los Banos on the game’s final play at the 1-yard line.

“We have a lot of motivation and we aren’t satisfied with two wins,” Munoz said. “We want more.”

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.