Central Catholic running back Tyler Jacklich steps out of a tackle during a season-opening win at Merced. Last week, Jacklich rushed for 281 yards in a loss at St. Francis of Mountain View. (Samantha Schmidt)

Rankings: Jacklich off to fast start for CC with rival St. Mary's coming to town

Ron Agostini

MODESTO – Central Catholic High senior Tyler Jacklich carried the ball Friday night until his weary legs couldn’t stand the strain any longer.

His Friday night at powerful St. Francis of Mountain View sparkled with production: 21 carries, 281 yards and two touchdowns. He wished it would have been more, because the Raiders gave up a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns through the air and were beaten 35-28.

“Tyler runs hard and he gets hit hard,” Central Catholic assistant coach Myron Larson said during the weekly lunch meeting of the Modesto Quarterback Club on Monday. “He was just physically spent.”

Jacklich, 6-foot-2and 195 pounds, appears to be the latest of a long line of top-tier CC running backs. He probably would have excelled as a junior if the Raiders weren’t over-stocked with the rugged tandem Aiden Taylor and Julian Lopez.

He offered a preview last fall as a junior, however, by squeezing in 420 rushing yards and four touchdowns. An early-season injury restricted him, however, though he helped the Raiders on defense as they claimed a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title and an eventual berth in the state finals.

It’s clear Jacklich’s time has arrived this season. He’s already rushed for 420 yards and four touchdowns with more on the way if he stays healthy. The Raiders will need him at his best as they prepare for their home opener Friday night against St. Mary’s.

“If we have a rival, that (St. Mary’s) is a rival for us,” Larson said.

Central Catholic hasn’t yet teed it up with a healthy roster. Two-way stars Jaelen Nichols and Brooklyn Cheek missed last week’s game.  Cheek is not expected to play against St. Mary’s but Nichols could return, Larson said. Their absence on defense against the St. Francis passing game hurt the Raiders.

“We felt we should have won that game,” said Larson, noting a long Tyler Wentworth-to-Trace Hernandez touchdown pass was erased by a holding penalty.

NOTES – Modesto Christian’s 1-7 season in 2021 quickly has been forgotten. The Crusaders, off and running at 2-0 though they boast only two seniors, appear to be improved. They led 32-7 at halftime and eventually piled up nearly 500 yards of offense to beat Denair 47-29. “That was our second game without a turnover. We didn’t punt,” coach Jerry Grimshaw said. Raymond Corral Jr. has shown athleticism at quarterback, but he’s not alone. Elmo Wartson scored three touchdowns against Denair. Jeremiah Bernard has caught 21 passes over two games, and basketball star Manasse Itete (6-6, 270) is drawing attention from collegiate scouts.  MC welcomes El Capitan, which didn’t play last week due to a COVID cancellation. …

Only four seniors start for Johansen (0-2), which was victimized by mistakes in a 34-28 loss at Gustine. One of the fumbles came at the wrong time—overtime. The Vikings scored on four of five possessions to lead 28-14 at halftime before they slumped. “I could feel it coming. The kids started to play tight,” Johansen coach Rod Smith said. “We just need to learn how to win.” The Vikings were encouraged, however, by sophomore Jairus Vasquez and junior Seth Bierman, two-way standouts who both scored touchdowns. Chad Conley carried for 95 yards.…

Enochs (1-1) hopes to bounce back after a rough trip to Brentwood, resulting in a 56-0 loss to Liberty. “We ran into a juggernaut,” coach Tracey Traub said. “Our goal this year was to get more challenging games. We bit off more than we could chew Friday night.” The Eagles travel to Buhach Colony of Atwater. … Grace Davis (1-1) recovered from a 12-0 deficit in the first five minutes to stop Chavez 45-28.  Spartans quarterback-defensive end Adrian Gallegos completed 11 of 17 passes for 227 yards and six touchdowns. “This is his year. He played like a senior,” coach Tim Garcia said.  … Davis and Johansen are idle this week. …

Downey (2-0) will be tested this week as the second visitor to play at Merced High’s new on-campus stadium. “We have zero players going both ways. It’s supposed to be 107 (degrees),” coach Jeremy Plaa said. The Knights passed for six touchdowns, five by Conner Stoddard, during a 56-6 thumping of East Union last week.  “We had a great game. We were ready to go,” Plaa said. …

Modesto Junior College was encouraged by a successful scrimmage last week against reigning state champion City College of San Francisco. The Pirates open the season Saturday night at home at 5 o'clock against Laney. … Visiting the quarterback club this week was Will DeBoard, a former Modesto Bee sports writer who now serves as assistant director of the Sac-Joaquin Section.

Large school rankings

1. Central Catholic, 1-1 (vs. St. Mary’s). 2. Manteca 2-0  (at Cosumnes Oaks). 3. Downey 2-0 (at Merced). 4. Merced 1-1 (vs. Downey). 5. Oakdale 1-1 (idle).

Small school rankings

1. Escalon 1-1 (vs. Windsor). 2. Hilmar 1-1 (at Sonora). 3. Sonora 1-1 (vs. Hilmar). 4. Hughson 2-0 (at Argonaut). 5. Modesto Christian 2-0  (vs. El Capitan).