MODESTO – Central Catholic’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division II opener against Tracy quickly morphed into a Raiders’ preview of coming attractions.
There was sophomore Lyon Colon’s three touchdowns before the first quarter was history. There was sophomore Aiden Taylor’s touchdown catch. And there was sophomore Julian Lopez, audacious in his varsity debut, leaving a vapor trail during two long-distance touchdown dashes.
The game avalanched to 51-0 at halftime, and the officials clocked the final quarter of Central Catholic’s 58-14 victory Friday night. The fifth-seeded Raiders (6-5) scored on all seven first-half possessions – Frank Clark added another score on a 44-yard punt return – in a game CC couldn’t have scripted better at Patton Field.
“This is what we work for. We’re battle-tested,” Central Catholic coach Roger Canepa said. “Anyone who gets us…it’s a tough go for ‘em.”
Next up for Central Catholic is a trip to Carmichael for a 1 p.m. kickoff next Saturday against fellow parochial Jesuit (5-5), the fourth seed which enjoyed a first-round bye.
“I think we can beat anybody in the bracket. We can lose, too, but we match up well with everybody,” Canepa said.
Canepa liked what he saw against Tracy (4-7). The Raiders held out star running back Minaya Olivo (ankle), but the 160-pound Colon – Olivo’s replacement – wasted no time making an Olivo-like impact.
Colon took a handoff from quarterback Dalton Durossette on CC’s first snap, stepped to his right behind guard Ramsey Ferrer and tackle Armando Palominos, and raced 43 yards untouched into the end zone. The simple blast play was a harbinger. Central Catholic dominated.
A fumble recovery by Jack Grisel led to Colon’s second touchdown, a 2-yarder. Minutes later, Sithri Price dived in the end zone to snare Durossette’s 17-yard lob. Then it was again Colon’s turn with another power play resulting in a 42-yard scoring burst.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Colon, who made his first varsity start a big one. “Our line did a great job.”
The Raiders’ first-quarter explosion amounted to an answer to last week’s disappointment, a 42-39 loss to Oakdale that threw the Valley Oak League into a CC-Manteca-Oakdale tri-title.
“We’re not used to giving up that many points to anybody,” Canepa said. “We were mad. We think we shouldn’t have lost last week, and we did. We cleaned up some things defensively.”
The rout was a mild surprise, given the fact Tracy – the third-place finisher in the Tri-City Athletic League– was competitive during losses to area powers Manteca and St. Mary’s. The Bulldogs missed Oregon State-bound receiver Trevor Pope, who was injured three weeks ago and underwent surgery Friday for a fractured arm.
That left senior quarterback Logan Fife, who switched his commitment during the season from Cal Poly to Fresno State, without his favorite target. Fife, pressured most of the night, could not mobilize the Bulldogs until the second half.
“That happened a few times to us this year,” Tracy coach Matt Shrout said. “We made a few mistakes, dropped a couple of passes, and we panicked.”
Central Catholic’s lack of depth forced the insertion of underclassmen all season. But Lopez, angular and fleet, waited until the playoffs to receive his callup. He bolted 70 and 58 yards for touchdowns, a tease to what could be ahead.
“We practiced really hard this week,” said Durossette, the future Santa Clara pitcher who celebrated his 18th birthday by passing for two touchdowns. “We came out in the first half and did our thing, just like our coach told us to.”
Minaya and two-way producer Nic Sani are expected to play next week at Jesuit.
Central Catholic 58, Tracy 14
Tracy 0-0-7-7 – 14
Central Catholic 27-24-7-0– 58
CC – Lyle Colon 42 run (David Gallegos kick)
CC – Colon 2 run (Gallegos kick)
CC – Sithi Price 17 pass from Dalton Durossette (kick blocked)
CC – Colon 43 run (Gallegos kick)
CC – Aiden Taylor 6 pass from Durossette (Gallegos kick)
CC – Frank Clark 44 punt return (Gallegos kick)
CC – Julian Lopez 70 run (Gallegos kick)
CC – FG Gallegos 30
T – Tommy Chavez 28 pass from Logan Fife (Matthew Giuliacci kick)
CC – Lopez 58 run (Jude Ramos kick)
T – Austin Ho-Sy 22 run (Giuliacci kick)
Records – Tracy 4-7, Central Catholic 6-5