Davis QB Elijah Diaz (left) threw two of his three touchdown passes to Gregory Smith in the Spartans' 35-14 win over crosstown rival Beyer, previously unbeaten in WAC play, on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, at Don Lanphear Stadium in Modesto, Calif. (Joe CortezFront Row Preps)

Davis beats Beyer to create four-way tie atop WAC standings

Joe Cortez

MODESTO — Let the fun begin.

Davis High defeated Beyer 35-14 Thursday night at Gregori High’s Don Lanphear Stadium, setting up what should be an exciting final two weeks to the Western Athletic Conference regular season.

With the victory, the Spartans improve to 8-1 and 4-1 in conference play, the lone setback being a 24-17 loss to Los Banos in which they led by 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Beyer’s drops to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in WAC action.

Johansen defeated Lathrop 27-19 and and Los Banos beat Ceres 56-14 on Friday night to create a four-way atop the conference standings.

“When I first came back, that was the whole goal — return to the glory days, and we’re far from it,” said Davis coach Tim Garcia, a Davis High graduate. “But I wanted our kid to experience the experiences I had as an athlete at Davis High School.”

Elijah Diaz and Gregory Smith were the standouts for the Spartans. Diaz complete 17 of 24 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards and a TD on 20 carries. Smith, meanwhile, intercepted a pass on defense and hauled in two touchdown passes — a 45-yard score on a busted coverage in the first quarter and a 5-yard strike late in the third quarter. 

Kyle Joyce returned a kickoff 82 yards for a score and Michael Sherrod Jr., who also had an interception on defense, hauled in a 12-yard strike to round out the scoring for the Spartans.

Both Beyer touchdowns came in the first half, both from Sean Perkins, who scored on a 1-yard plunge from scrimmage and on a 74-yard punt return that tied the game 14-14 with 1:15 to play in the first half.

This is the second season that Beyer, Davis and Johansen have played in the WAC since realignment, and it’s proven to be the right call. The three were perennially in the bottom half of the old Modesto Metro Conference standings, but have thrived as members of the WAC this year.

The remaining games for the four front-runners are as follows:

Beyer (5-3, 4-1) — at Pacheco (3-4, 2-2), vs. Johansen (6-2, 4-1)

Davis (8-1, 4-1) — at Johansen (6-2, 4-1), at Ceres (0-4, 0-7)

Johansen (6-2, 4-1) — vs. Davis (8-1, 4-1), at Beyer (5-3, 4-1)

Los Banos (4-4, 4-1) — vs. Lathrop (1-6, 1-3), at Pacheco (3-4, 2-2)