MODESTO – There are home openers, and there’s the one experienced last week by the Gregori High Jaguars.
Their 41-17 victory over the Livermore Cowboys only begins to describe the feelings that surged through the veins of Gregori (3-1), which is off to its best start since its 11-1 season of 2017.
“A good night,” coach Lamar Wallace summarized Monday at the weekly lunch meeting of the Modesto Quarterback Club. “An emotional night.”
For starters, undersized but scrappy running back Michael Marsden delivered 238 rushing yards and three touchdowns – runs of 24, 18 and 69 yards, all during the second quarter. The victory was capped by senior Trey Webb’s scoop-and-score touchdown (Webb also caught a touchdown pass from Conner Bailey).
But there was more, much more, at Don Lanphear Stadium.
The Jaguars also honored the memory of former assistant coach and Army veteran Richard Baroda, who died last year. Jaxx Baroda, his son, marked the evening in his own way – with his second interception in as many weeks.
Gregori’s theme for the game was to honor all veterans and first-responders as the nation remembered the 23rd anniversary of the events of Sept. 11. Spectators were handed tiny American flags to wave, and veterans and first-responders were asked to stand and be recognized.
“A lot of our kids had tears in their eyes,” Wallace said.
Finally, there was center/defensive lineman Ethan Lowell, a four-year varsity starter. His uncle is Livermore offensive line coach Justin Lowell, who no doubt has reminded Ethan of the Cowboys’ 27-6 and 35-28 victories over Gregori the last two years (Livermore also honored veterans during the 2022 Gregori game).
The Jaguars’ revenge win wasn’t lost on the 270-pound Lowell.
“The holidays will be fun,” he said.
Gregori will entertain Tokay (3-1) on Friday night.
NOTES – Central Catholic (2-2) will have a few weeks to lick their wounds after its 38-7 home loss to unbeaten Serra. The Raiders were worn down in the second half by one of the state’s best teams, but Central Catholic does have some consolation – there’s not a team left on its regular-season schedule as powerful as Serra. … Beyer (0-3), 0-10 the last two seasons, nearly ended the streak but were denied by West of Tracy in overgime 13-7. “We scored on our first possession, had a touchdown called back on our second, and fumbled on the 1 in our third,” head coach Mike Young lamented. The Patriots will welcome Los Banos on Friday night at Johansen. … Johansen (2-1) used the bye week to heal its many injuries. The Vikings will open Western Athletic Conference season at Pacheco. …
Downey (4-0) survived a spirited challenge 19-13 at Hughson (3-1). The Knights surprisingly went scoreless for nearly the final three quarters and withstood a late-game rally by the Huskies. One of the Knights’ unsung heroes was senior corner Ezekiel Toledo, who broke up four passes during the second half. Downey again will face a major test against the 3-0 Tracy Bulldogs on Friday night at Wayne Schneider Stadium. …
Enochs’ precarious quarterback situation worsened during its 30-7 loss to East Union. Jakob Hilterbrand, the Eagles’ No. 3 quarterback, suffered a broken collarbone late in the first half against the Lancers. Micah Rapier, the replacement for Hilterbrand, connected with Kaedon Kopp for a 76-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter. Turnovers plagued the Eagles, who showed life on defense by sacking EU sophomore QB Kirk Simoni seven times. Aiden Muhammad rushed for 94 yards but was held out of the end zone. Coach Tracey Traub and his staff will use this week’s bye to regroup, but there is a solution at quarterback. Johnny Staggs, a junior transfer from Downey, will become eligible next week against Oakdale. … Modesto (1-3) was hurt by another slow start during its 42-20 loss to Central Valley. “The first half is not our friend right now,” coach Dylan Miller said. The Panthers face Sierra on Friday night at Downey. … Grace Davis (0-3) trailed 17-0 before mounting a comeback that fell short in a 37-27 loss to Bear River. Coach Trevor Mew noted the Spartans’ setbacks, including two blocked punts. Davis travels to Mountain House. …
Ross Widemon tossed touchdown passes to three different receivers during Modesto Christian’s comeback from a 7-0 halftime deficit to defeat Berean Christian 20-13 Saturday afternoon at Walnut Creek. “We have 22 on the varsity roster and we’ve hired a JV coach. We’re building from the ground up,” first-year coach Kurt Bryan said. The Crusaders (2-1) are preparing for a special non-league home game Friday night against unbeaten Stone Ridge Christian. Activities will begin at 4 p.m. with a “Concert in the Country" featuring Crossman Connection. Fans can purchase a $10 ticket to attend both the concert and the game. Bryan also said fans can win a drawing for an Acura. Visit www.modestochristian.org/concert for more information....
Modesto Junior College’s 51-41 victory over Santa Rosa lasted over four hours, due in part to a 45-minute lightning delay during the second quarter. When the game resumed, the Pirates (2-0) provided their own electricity with three touchdowns before halftime. Seven different players scored for MJC, which welcomes defending state champion San Mateo on Saturday at 1 p.m. … Jacob De Jesus, MJC’s exciting wide receiver last fall, continues to impress at UNLV. The 5-foot-7 junior caught five passes for 46 yards and also returned two punts, one for 22 yards during the Rebels’ 35-7 loss at No. 2 Michigan. The crowd of over 109,000 at the Big House was the largest to ever watch UNLV. De Jesus also returned a kickoff 96 yards during the win over Bryant.