The Sierra High Timberwolves continued to go through some early-season growing pains Friday at Daniel Teicheira Stadium, where they fell to Pacheco in a non-league affair, 35-14.
"We need to play with consistency," said Sierra coach Chris Johnson.
He was quick to praise the Panthers, saying: "That's a very good team."
The Timberwolves (1-2) drew first blood, driving 50 yards on nine plays. They were helped out by Matt Dunham's opening kickoff return to the 35-yard line coupled with a 15-yard penalty by Pacheco tacked on to the end of the play.
Shane Johnson had a 15-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage and, on the scoring play, the junior quarterback took an inside handoff from Dunham on the 6-yard touchdown.
The Sierra defense held the Panthers of the Western Athletic Conference to a three-and-out on its first go-around, but that was it for the rest of the half.
Pacheco (2-0) scored on its next three possessions. Quarterback Marcus Ordunez hit paydirt on runs of 14 and 5 yards while Ronnie Garcia Jr. had a 5-yard TD run right as the half expired.
The Panthers continued to ride that momentum into the third quarter, driving 89 yards and making it 29-7 following Garcia Jr.'s 4-yard touchdown run. Ordunez punched in the two-point conversion.
The Timberwolves, who lost Dunham to an injury — "(Losing him) took the winds out of our sail," Johnson later said — finally jump-started their offense in fourth quarter.
Johnson, in particular, had several big runs, finishing with 121 yards on 18 carries.
His 16-yard gain to the Pacheco 1 helped set up Johnson's scoring plunge, in turn, cutting the deficit, 29-14.
The Panthers moved the ball effectively behind their front line. Julian Moran had 116 yards on 19 carries and Garcia Jr chipped in with 110 yards on 17 pops. Ordunez rushed for 90 yards on 12 tries, completing 6 of 7 passes for 56 yards. Reserve Steven Verduzco had a long TD run late in the game to close out the scoring.
Pacheco 7 14 8 7 — 35
Sierra 7 0 0 7 — 14
S—Shane Johnson 3 run (Jordan Shinn kick), 7:30.
P—Marcus Ordunez 14 run (Agustin Lino kick), 1:48.
P—Ordunez 5 run (Lino kick), 8:49.
P—Ronnie Garcia Jr. 5 run (Lino kick), 0:00.
P—Garcia Jr. 4 run (Ordunez run), 8:22.
S—Johnson 1 run (Shinn kick), 4:37.
P—Steve Verduzco 39 run (Alfonso Giron kick), 1:07.