Players from Big Valley Christian were honored by the Modesto Quarterback Club. From left: Cohen Boone, Logan Stevens, Drew Oldenburger and Kade Terzo. (Ron Agostini)

Modesto Quarterback Club: Gregori, 4-1, off to best start in six years

Ron Agostini

MODESTO – The plot contained a dose of drama and intrigue, but the Gregori High Jaguars emerged as the heroes.

 The Jaguars defense stood its ground late in the game Friday night and preserved a 21-20 victory over Tokay.  Gregori is 4-1 and off to its best start since the 11-1 Jaguars of 2017.

“We came out flat and were behind 20-7 at halftime,” Gregori coach Lamar Wallace said at Monday’s meeting of the Modesto Quarterback Club. “After we took the lead in the fourth quarter, we held them out of field goal range.”

Michael Marsden, Gregori’s productive senior running back, punched in his second touchdown andJ ace Guzman added his third extra point – the important go-ahead kick – during the fourth quarter. Marsden earned this week’s bye date. He’s already rushed for 879 yards and nine touchdowns.

Gregori will open the Central California Athletic League season a week from Friday at home against Turlock.

MJC – Modesto Junior College, for all its success under coach Rusty Stivers, often has struggled over the years against powerhouse San Mateo. Last week wasn’t one of those times. The Pirates built a 14-7  lead at halftime before the Bulldogs – the reigning state champions and currently ranked No. 1 by the JC Athletic Bureau – flexed their muscles to win 37-20 at MJC Stadium. The Pirates dropped only one spot, to 11th, in this week’s poll.

“We found out we can play with anyone in the state,” MJC spokesman Kirk Peterson said. “Hopefully, we’ll see them again in the playoffs.”

The Pirates (2-1) feature an entertaining pass-catch tandem in quarterback Luke Weaver and receiver Bronson England. Last week, England caught 14 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Weaver, who missed almost all of last season due to injury, completed 26 of 37 passes for 347 yards and three scores.

 Modesto again will be tested Saturday at Butte.

NOTES – Johansen (3-1, 1-0) earned its post-game celebration after a 28-26 win in overtime at Pacheco to open the Western Athletic Conference season. The Vikings launched the overtime with a touchdown and 2-point conversion, and the defense – after allowing a TD – walked off by stopping Panthers star Abel Bravo short of the goal line. It was Johansen’s first win over Pacheco in four years. Senior running back Tek Garcia continues to overachieve for the Vikings. He carried 31 times for 315 yards and two touchdowns and a pair of important 2-point conversions at Pacheco. By the way, he also plays defense.

“He’s just a warrior,” Johansen coach Rod Smith praised. The Vikings will entertain Mountain House on Friday night. …

Modesto Christian’s special concert-and-a-game night was successful, at least until the Crusaders fell 37-6 to unbeaten Stone Ridge Christian.  Three lucky ticket-holders had a chance to win an Acura by kicking a 30-yard field goal. One of them barely missed. Later, quarterback Ross Widemon and receiver Jeremiah Bernard connected seven times for 95 yards and a first-quarter TD. Widemon was sacked eight times, however, as SRC scored 37 unanswered points.  … Enochs (2-2), rested after a bye, runs into an Oakdale team hungry after its loss to Escalon. The game will be played at Downey. …

Florida State commit and Modesto Christian transfer Manasse Itete, a 280-pound lineman, will make his debut for Central Catholic on Friday night at home against Pleasant Valley (2-1). The Raiders, off last week, also will receive a boost from two other transfers. … Downey coach Jeremy Plaa praised injured quarterback Joe Ramirez for gutting through the Knights’ 43-13 loss at unbeaten Tracy. The loss snapped Downey's 23-game regular-season winning streak dating back to 2021. Ramirez, the wide receiver when the season started, hurt his shoulder during the win over Hughson. The Knights (4-1) got good news this week with the doctor’s clearance of quarterback Carson Lamb, who’s missed the last four games. …

Players from Beyer were honored by the Modesto Quarterback Club. From left: Sione Latu, Amory Harris and Isaiah Sanchez. Back: Herbert Shuckman, Ethan Puett and Anthony Taylor (Ron Agostini).

Players from Big Valley Christian and Beyer were the special guests of the QB club. BVC (1-4) started with a touchdown before it was beaten by Calaveras 41-13. The Lions move into the Mother Lode League next year. … Beyer lost to defending WAC champion Los Banos 33-0.  Other than the 2-2 pandemic season of 2020, the Patriots have dropped 25 straight games. Coach Mike Young said progress has been made, however, and thinks that streak-busting win could come soon. The Patriots travel to Ceres. …

Jaden Rivera scored the only touchdown in Modesto’s 49-6 loss to Sierra. The Panthers (1-4) are off this week. Coach Dylan Miller thinks help is on the way with Modesto’s 5-0 JVs.