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Early miscues doom Lathrop in 1st-place battle with Grace Davis
Bulletin sports fall 2021
Lathrop defensive back Roman Giordano tracks down Grace Davis running back Daniel Ramos. - photo by Wayne Thallander


Lathrop    0 0 6 7 — 13

G. Davis 12 7 0 6 — 25


First quarter

G — Daniel Ramos23 run (kick missed), 8:12.

G — Jose Sanchez 22 pass from Jayson Munthe (run failed), 0:06.


Second quarter

G — Jordan Mendoza 41 pass from Munthe (Jackson Brooks kick), 10:42.


Third quarter

L — Luis Hernandez 1 run (kick missed), 3:51.


Fourth quarter

G — Sanchez 3 run (kick missed), 6:25.

L — Noah Martínez 3 run (Anthony Cuellar kick), 1:49.

MODESTO — Lathrop dominated possession and won the turnover battle Friday, but that wasn’t reflected in the final outcome of its Western Athletic Conference first-place showdown with undefeated Grace Davis at Modesto Junior College.

Lathrop ran almost twice as many plays but came up empty-handed on three trips to the red zone in a 25-13 loss that halts its program-best winning streak at five. Grace Davis (4-0 WAC, 7-0 overall) had just 13 offensive plays from scrimmage in the first half — against 30 for Lathrop (3-1, 5-2) — but was comfortably ahead 19-0 at the break.

Overall, Lathrop racked up 235 yards on 63 plays, while Davis’ balanced spread attack needed just 33 plays to tally 264 yards. Lathrop’s all-around effort improved in the second half, but going down three scores was ultimately too much its run-based Wing-T offense to overcome.

“We can’t allow ourselves to give away opportunities offensively,” Lathrop coach Ryan Teicheira said. “We have to be able to score in the red zone. It’s just finishing drives.”

Jeremiah Estante led Lathrop with 89 yards on 18 rushes after hobbling to the sideline with a leg injury late in the first quarter. Noah Martinez rushed 19 times for 58 yards and a touchdown, and Aaron Ramones had 43 yards on seven carries before getting sidelined with an apparent ankle injury.

Lathrop had lengthy drives stall on the 11- and 17-yard lines in the first half. Its final drive of the half lasted 8 minutes, 44 seconds but had nothing to show for it. A prime opportunity was missed on a trick play when wingback Jeremiah Estante threw it short to an open Justin Tisdell near the goal line, allowing safety Victor Rojas Jr. to deflect it.

Earlier, Lathrop’s defense came up with a big three-and-out stop after its first red-zone chance was botched but lost a fumble on the ensuing punt. Grace Davis quickly took advantage, using two plays — the latter a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jayson Munthe to Jose Sanchez — for a 12-0 lead.

Munthe struck again early in the second quarter on a one-play drive, capitalizing on a blown coverage to hit a wide-open Jordan Mendoza for a 41-yard touchdown.

“Those were big momentum changers,” Teicheira said. “Getting down to the goal line and not putting points on the board, it’s hard for a defense to come back on field and try to respond.”

He has reason to be pleased with his team’s second-half response. The defense forced three turnovers in the third quarter, though Lathrop only turned them into six points. Grace Davis lost fumbles on its first two offensive plays of the half — recovered by Kameron Jones and Josiah Pena — and the third giveaway was especially costly.

Grace Davis, leading 19-6 after Luis Hernandez registered Lathrop’s first points on a quarterback sneak, threatened to regain its three-score lead late in the third quarter. Standout defensive end Harold Gary came up with a big strip sack inside the 30, and Eduardo Reynoso came up with the loose ball.

Grace Davis didn’t just lose possession, but also its quarterback as Munthe (6 of 7, 113 yards, two TDs) was hurt on the play.

“Usually in a high school football game when you turn the ball over three straight (drives) you’re going to lose,” Grace Davis coach Tim Garcia said. “We’re very fortunate and yet excited to be able to go through some adversity and some injuries and still come out on top. It’s a tribute to our kids and our coaches.”

Munthe was replaced by Sanchez (six rushes, 66 yards) behind center, and it was his short-yardage touchdown run that iced it for Grace Davis midway through the final period.  Junior running back Daniel Ramos helped carry the load by scampering 11 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. Davis standout RB Isaac Martinez (three rushes, 4 yards) was limited by a lingering ankle sprain.

“The offensive scheme they had was good,” Teicheira said. “They got the ball to their athletes in space and they make you miss. The read-option gave us a little bit of trouble and we tried to adapt to it. This is the first spread team that we’ve played.”

Lathrop plays its final home game next week against 1-6 Johansen. After that is a stiff test on the road against Los Banos, which is better than its 2-4. Teicheira is hoping that his team can carry some momentum from its second half against Grace Davis.

“The first half wasn’t our game,” he said. “I think we made little mistakes here and there that ended up being a big deal for them. I’m proud of our boys coming out in the second half. We talked at halftime about character, and what type of character they were going to bring in the second half. It’s a moral victory but in the second half they played lights out.”