LATHROP — Lathrop High’s football swan song in the Valley Oak League fell short Friday against visiting Kimball.
“Turnovers and penalties were costly,” said coach Joe Pirillo following his team’s 10-6 loss in the regular season finale. “The penalties left us with third-and-long situations.”
More on the turnovers.
The Spartans (2-5 VOL, 3-7 overall) will be playing in the Western Athletic Conference next year.
They twice coughed up the ball in the first half.
The second one proved lethal, occurring at the Lathrop 11-yard line late in the first quarter.
Kimball (2-5 VOL, 2-8) was quick to capitalize. Mateo Decoite found room along the right side for an 8-yard score.
The Jaguars, on their next possession, drove the ball inside the Lathrop 20, taking a 10-0 lead in the second quarter thanks to Francisco Gomez’s 29-yard field goal.
“We still fought hard,” Pirillo said. “That’s what this team has done all season.
“We never quit.”
Workhorse Michael Ramos, in particular, continued to run hard on offense, carrying the ball 39 times for a game-high 191 yards. He also played stellar defense while returning kicks and punts.
Ramos and quarterback Keonnee Linnell set up the Spartans’ scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
Lathrop, earlier, had a few other drives deep in Kimball territory that stalled, in part, because of untimely penalties.
This time, the Spartans would not be denied as Linnell, from the Jaguars 6, sprinted into the end zone for the score.
Kimball managed to chew up much of the clock in the waning minutes while nearly turning over the ball on a bad snap from center.
The Jaguars not only recovered the loose ball but avoided disaster by getting off the punt, leaving Lathrop with little time on the clock.
Both teams were heavily penalized.
Kimball was flagged 12 times for 105 yards while the Spartans had 60 yards tacked off on six penalties.