LATHROP — For the better part of three quarters, Lathrop High was locked in a tight battle with Kimball Friday at Bennie Gatto Field.
But penalties and turnovers proved costly for the Spartans, who saw their fortunes unravel and the Jaguars capitalizing by coming away with a 32-16 non-league win.
"The turnovers hurt us," said Lathrop assistant coach Ross Tisdell, who was filling in for Joe Pirillo.
The Spartan head coach was ejected late in the game. As a result, he'll miss his team's final preseason game against Sierra in two weeks.
Lathrop came out with a solid effort after last week's lopsided loss in the opener to Manteca.
"We looked vastly improved," Tisdell added.
He was particularly impressed with the Spartans' opening drive that lasted 20 plays and 83 yards.
Senior quarterback Davis Raya-Ruiz was the driving force in that series, coming up with several big plays on third-and-long situations — he connected with sophomore receiver Jason Seabron Jr. for 26 yards on one such play and was further helped out by a Kimball facemask penalty.
Lathrop (0-2) also overcame 30 yards of penalties on that initial drive that consumed over seven minutes of the clock.
Raya-Ruiz delivered a short touchdown pass to Isaac Ramos. Seabron then scored the two-point conversion, giving his team an 8-0 lead with 1:44 left in the first. Raya-Ruiz completed 17 of his 29 passes for 139 yards and two interceptions.
The Jaguars (1-1) answered back soon after. Sophomore signal-caller Nicholas Coronado marched his team downfield, hitting Louie Pacheco on 20-yard scoring toss early in the second, and tying the game at 8-8 early in the second on Coronado's PAT pass to Darren Jackson.
Both teams entered the half tied at 8-8.
Lathrop opened the second half by driving the ball deep inside Kimball territory only to cough up the ball at Jaguar 3.
The Spartans fumbled the ball again late in the third. This time Kimball capitalized on the turnover.
Pacheco, who accounted for all but eight of team's outscoring output — the senior running back racked up a game-high 232 yards on 26 carries with three TDs and three extra-point conversion runs — broke loose for a 27-yard score early in the fourth.
Lathrop answered back with Ramos, who helped set up his 2-yard TD run with a big 34-yard gain coupled with a facemask infraction by Kimball, tying the game at 16-16.
Ramos was the Spartans' top rusher with 111 yards on 19 carries.
Kimball came up with a pair of interception, including one that followed Coronado's 15-yard scoring strike to Jaxen North to put his team ahead for good.
The Jaguars also came up with a pair of interception to help secure their win. Pacheco's 35-yard score inside the final two minutes provided that insurance.
Kimball 0 8 0 24 — 32
Lathrop 8 0 0 8 —16
L—Isaac Ramos 2 pass from Davis Raya-Ruiz (Jason Seabron Jr. run), 1:44
K—Louie Pacheco 20 pass from Nicolas Coronado (Darren Jackson pass from Coronado), 9:45
K—Pacheco 27 run (Pacheco run), 11:24
L—Ramos 2 run (Ramos run), 8:48
K—Jaxen North 15 pass from Coronado (Pacheco run), 6:49
K—Pacheco 35 run (Pacheco run), 1:36