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Central Catholic shellacs Spartans
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MODESTO — There’s not much of a silver lining to be found when you’re down by five touchdowns at halftime and your offense has only managed to put together three first downs.
But despite the 54-0 thrashing that the Lathrop Spartans suffered at the hands of reigning CIF small school state champion Central Catholic Raiders on Friday night, head coach Joey Pirillo did find something that his team can build off of heading into the next week of their season.
They never gave up.
“They’re a good team that executed well tonight, and I have to say that our guys never gave up against a very good football team,” Pirillo said. “We made too many mistakes out there tonight, and the one thing you can’t do against a good football team like this is make mistakes – especially early in the game. And we paid for them.”
Lathrop (0-2 Oak league, 1-4 overall) got off to a rocky start after the punt on their opening three-and-out series was blocked and set up the Raiders on the Spartan 20-yard line right out of the gate. Central Catholic scored five plays later, and after allowing the Spartans to pick up a rare first down on the next drive, answered back with a two-play, 72-yard drive that gave them a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Things didn’t go much smoother from that point forward.
Lathrop only managed to pick up one official first down for the remainder of the contest, and while the Lathrop defense did force the Raiders to punt midway through the second quarter, Central Catholic managed to capitalize on every single Spartan punt for the remainder of the contest.
Senior tailback Jared Rice, who broke for a 56-yard run in the first quarter to set up the Raiders’ first score, finished the game with 148 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown – adding another at the end of the first half when he intercepted a Keonnee Linnell pass and returned it 35-yards for a touchdown.  
Montell Bland found the end zone twice for Central Catholic, racking up 44 yards on 7 carries, while Dauson Brooker hit pay dirt twice as well and finished the night with 37 yards on four carries.
The Raiders (2-0, 3-2) will travel to Tracy next week to take on the Kimball Jaguars while the Spartans will host the Oakdale Mustangs for their homecoming night.