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Spartans play spoiler in upset of Sierra
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LATHROP — A dominant line and bruising running by Michael Ramos helped Lathrop score the game’s first three and last three touchdowns, as the Spartans pounded visiting Sierra 49-21 in Valley Oak League action at Bennie Gatto Field.
“I’m pretty sure a lot of people are going to be surprised with the outcome if this game,” Lathrop coach Joe Pirillo said. “They look at our record and think we are still the Lathrop of old.
“At times we are when we make mistakes. But we have talented players and they are put in position to succeed and whether or not they succeed it comes down to them and tonight they wanted it more, and I thought that our O-line and D-line was the difference tonight.”
It took the Spartans (2-4 VOL, 3-6 overall) just four plays to set the tone for the game. Pinned at its own 12-yard line to start the game, Lathrop got out to the 24 before Galven Munoz (four receptions, 102 yards) pulled in a74-yard scoring pass from Keonnee Linnell (9 of 19 passing, 182 yards, two touchdowns) for the first of three first-quarter Spartans touchdown. 
“I just have to thank the linemen,” Linnell said. “They gave me so much time in the pocket.”
Ramos pounded out 201 yards on 23 carries and scored on runs of 3 yards on the first quarter and 43 in the third and came up from his strong safety position to stuff one run after another.
“The line did its job,” Ramos said. “All I had to do was find the hole.
“On defense, once I saw where the ball was going I just tried to get there as fast as I could”
After falling behind 21-0, the Timberwolves (2-4 VOL, 5-4 overall) scored twice in the second quarter. With 7:15 left in the half, Marcus Castillo returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown. Then after recovering a fumble on the Sierra 30 with 12 seconds left in the half, Mark Vicente (16 of 26 passing, 208 yards, two touchdowns) moved the Timberwolves 70 yards in two plays capped off by a 42-yard touchdown pass to Eriq Kurys with no time left on the clock to come within 21-14.
But despite stealing the momentum at the end of the half, Sierra went three and out to start the third quarter and Lathrop took just four plays to score when Ramos scampered 43 yards with 8:37 left in the period. Johnny Corner then recovered the ensuing onside kick for the Spartans, and coupled with an earlier interception by R.J. Tisdell and fumble recoveries by Tremayne Tuipuloto Willis Jr. and Josiah Acosta, Sierra could not counter its mistakes.
“Turnovers did us in tonight,” Timberwolves coach Jeff Harbison said. “We had some costly turnovers and a costly personal foul that cost us a touchdown.
“We have to bounce back and play better football next week.”
Tuipuloto Willis Jr. (13 carries, 111 yards, two touchdowns) scored two touchdowns a minute apart in the fourth quarter that helped seal the win.
“I have to give all the credit to the offensive line,” Tuipuloto Willis Jr. said. “Without them the holes would not have been there tonight.”
Vicente had very few chances to set up, and that was due to the relentless pressure the Spartans brought all night. Cristian Basulto brought a lot of that pressure and picked up three sacks.
“Everything went right tonight,” Basulto said. “The coaches taught me the moves that get me to the quarterback faster.”