Gregori High overcame a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit and went on to win 27-20 in overtime, spoiling Beyer’s homecoming Friday night at Johansen’s Dan Gonsalves Stadium.
Gregori, playing its Modesto Metro Conference opener, improved to 4-1, while Beyer slipped to 1-5 overall, 0-2 in the MMC.
With just over 10 minutes left in the game, Beyer led 20-6 and appeared to stick the proverbial fork in the Jaguars when Caleb Saalfeld picked off a pass on his own 10-yard line. But Gregori’s defense rose to the challenge and forced the Patriots to go three-and-out – all three rushing attempts were stuffed for no gain – and took over on Beyer’s 48.
On the first play from scrimmage, junior Hagan O’Brien took a handoff from quarterback Cam Calton and raced through the Beyer line virtually untouched and into the end zone. After Tyler Janitz’s PAT, the Pats’ lead was trimmed to 20-13 with 7:57 remaining.
On its next possession, Beyer again went three-and-out – Ezra Ruiz sacked Beyer quarterback Nick Trujillo for a 5-yard loss on third-and-9 – and the Jaguars took over on their 41 with 6:08 left.
Again, Beyer came up with a key interception. This time, Jared Barnett picked off a pass on his own 5. It appeared all the Patriots had to do was stuff the ball into Jay Green’s belly – Green rushed for 90 yards on 23 carries – and let him chew up the clock.
But five plays later, the shotgun snap to quarterback Nick Trujillo was high, and Gregori’s Matt Vargas pounced on the loose ball in the end zone for six.
After Tyler Janitz’s conversion, the score was 20-20.
In overtime, O’Brien busted in from 10 yards out on the first play, and Janitz again made good to give the Jags a 27-20 advantage.
Beyer was called for holding and lost 12 yards to the 22. On fourth-and-goal from the 22, Saalfeld (in for Trujillo) heaved a desperation pass that was picked off by Ruiz, setting off Gregori’s celebration.
“Our guys really stepped it up tonight,” said Gregori coach Jason McCoy. “As long as there’s time on the clock, they believe they can win.
“They believed in the scheme, didn’t panic and found a way to win.”