MODESTO — For the better part of the first half of Sierra’s showdown with Valley Oak League powerhouse Central Catholic Friday night, its offense was stuck in reverse.
By the time the Timberwolves trotted off of David Patton Field to regroup, they had amassed only two offensive yards while allowing the Raiders almost 200.
And while there wasn’t much good to take away from the 48-7 loss, Sierra head coach Chris Johnson considered the matchup to be a key component of a getting collectively better while proving its mettle against one the premier high school programs in all of California.
“This is one of those games that makes you better, especially when you’re playing an opponent that is one of the best around,” Johnston said. “They’re a very physical team, and you find out when you go against somebody like that if you’re the kind of team that is going to roll over, or you’re the kind of team that is going to fight.
“Games like this are the games that make you better, and victory isn’t something that’s always measured by what is up on the scoreboard.”
Sierra (1-1 VOL, 2-3 overall) had trouble early on trying to contain Central Catholic workhorse Dauson Booker, who seemed to move piles of Timberwolves early in the game. He was the key cog in the Raiders’ attack that scored touchdowns on two of its first three possessions.
Booker found the end zone twice from 13 and 10 yards out, while Coleby Garrett chipped in 44 yards of his own.
Even though Dauson (15 carries, 118 yards, three TDs) left the game once the Raiders had it firmly in hand early in the third quarter, he was held to roughly half of his production in the touted showdown with Manteca High last week and never broke for more than 17 yards on a single carry.
Sierra’s lone touchdown didn’t come until the waning minutes of the third quarter when Larenz Redd scampered in from 15 yards out, but the game went to a running clock at the start of the fourth despite the Raiders only held a 34-point lead.
Redd led the Timberwolves in rushing with 57 yards rushing on seven carries, including the touchdown, while senior quarterback Nick Stanley finished 5-of-11 passing for 36 yards.
“You can’t always control what the other team is going to do, all you can do is play hard and not give up,” Johnson said. “It’s a lesson for the guys who came off the field knowing that they did the best that they could, and it’s about regrouping and coming back out next week and doing it all over again.”