MODESTO – If we learned anything about the Central Catholic Raiders last week, it’s this: They rely on their do-it-all senior Tyler Paul Wentworth.
Wentworth, a strapping 6-foot-5 220-pound quarterback and jack-of-all-trades, finished the Raiders’ pulsating 39-35 victory over Manteca. It was his business-like hit on pass-catcher KP MacDannald five yards from the goal line that keynoted a celebration on the floor of Patton Field.
All the evidence is in: Wentworth, a three-year varsity star, is the best player in the frontrowpreps.com’s coverage area. The numbers say it, and all eyeballs can verify. The Raiders are on the verge of their third straight outright Valley Oak League title, and they know who to thank.
What’s surprising to some is that Wentworth’s value to the team increased after he committed to Clemson on a baseball scholarship early this season. In similar cases, coaches and parents may have cut back his snaps for fear of injury that would tarnish his collegiate career.
But Wentworth has been an alert sideline-to-sideline presence at free safety and occasionally at defensive end. He had no intention to play it safe. He was named to All-Valley Oak League teams in football, basketball and baseball as a junior. Taking it easy as a senior, to him, was not in play.
“Tyler loves to play football,” said Central Catholic assistant coach Myron Larson at Monday’s lunch meeting of the Modesto Quarterback Club. “He likes to hit.”
Wentworth, a lefty, has passed for 1,610 yards and 20 touchdowns against only five interceptions over the Raiders’ first nine games. He’s also added over 300 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
His passes to Brooklyn Cheek and Trace Hernandez punctuated Central Catholic’s rally from a 35-24 deficit against Manteca. That marks two straight years the Raiders – 9-0 against the powerful Buffaloes since CC rejoined the VOL – rallied from multi-score deficits after halftime to deny Manteca.
Wentworth’s athleticism reminds some observers of Turlock High graduate Kevin Kramer, who went on to win an NCAA baseball title at UCLA, and later played for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Kramer was a quarterback for the Bulldogs, and in the 2010 Harvest Bowl anchored their thrilling win over Pitman. In the final seconds – not unlike Wentworth – Kramer’s ringing hit on the goal line denied the decisive two-point conversion. Then he recovered the onside kick much like he fielded ground balls at shortstop.
Last week, Wentworth posted his own tour de force by completing 13 of 18 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns, and added a rushing TD.
Central Catholic (7-2,4-0) will be favored to clinch the outright VOL title Friday night against Sierra. Then it’s on to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs and, most likely, more heroics from Wentworth.
GRACE DAVIS – Two Davis icons, former football coach Don Lanphear and former basketball coach Dan Pacheco, joined a large Spartan contingent to honor six Spartan senior football players at the QB club. The football field at Gregori is named for Lanphear, and the court at the Davis gym is named for Pacheco.
The Spartans (3-6, 3-3 in the Western Athletic Conference) probably won’t advance to the postseason but they’ve shown life with three wins in their last four games. Izzy Sanchez three for three touchdowns and rushed for more than 50 yards during last week’s 27-14 win over Johansen.
“We’re healthy and we’re buying in and playing as a group,” first-year coach Trevor Mew said. Davis meets Ceres on Friday night at Gregori.
NOTES – Downey (7-2, 3-1 in the Central California Athletic League) stabilized, after some uneven play in the season’s second half, with a 48-0 win over Enochs. “That was the first time we’ve clicked in all three phases,” Knights coach Jeremy Plaa said. Downey, which promoted seven sophomores this fall,will welcome Gregori to Chuck Hughes Stadium on Friday night. Both the Jaguars (7-2, 3-1 CCAL) and Downey hope to improve their bracket seeding with a closing win. Gregori defeated Pitman 28-7 last week. … Enochs (3-6, 1-3), plagued by injuries during its three-game losing streak, will meet Turlock at Johansen on Friday night. …
Johansen (5-4, 3-3 WAC) wraps up the regular season Thursday night at home against Beyer (0-9, 0-6 WAC). The Patriots’ chances for their first win evaporated after three interceptions resulted in a 22-0 deficit and an eventual 36-12 loss to Pacheco. “You worry about morale, but they haven't quit on me yet,” Beyer coach Mike Young said. “We’re playing from quarter to quarter and from game to game.” The Patriots will finish with awkward back-to-back games on Thursday night. …
Modesto Christian (2-7, 0-4 Trans-Valley League) led 16-13 over Livingston before the Crusaders were beaten 47-22. Second-half problems have hurt MC this season, and depth has been an issue. The Crusaders suited only 17 players last week. MC will finish at home vs. Hilmar. … Stone Ridge Christian jumped to a 28-0 halftime lead to all but seal its 35-7 victory over Big Valley Christian. That game settled the Central California Athletic Alliance League champion. CalPreps deserves a tip of the hat for correctly predicting the victor and the final score. The Lions (3-6, 1-1) travel to Rocklin to meet Western Sierra. …
Modesto Junior College’s season turned for the better with an impressive 49-28 win at home over Contra Costa. Running back Kimoni Stanley tied a school record by rushing for five touchdowns as the focal point of a ground attack that churned for 375 yards. The Pirates (4-3, 2-0), vying for their third straight Valley Conference title, travel to Reedley on Saturday afternoon.… The Pirates will be the featured team at the QB club’s final meeting on Monday.