Everything appeared to be going as planned for the Manteca Jaguars during their Cen-Cal first-place the Modesto Broncos Saturday.
Quarterback Austin Miller connected with Marcus Castillo for an early 48-yard touchdown strike that put the Jaguars ahead and appeared to give the squad the momentum it needed at home to continue their dominant season.
But three unanswered scores by Modesto took the wind right out of their sails en route to a 20-7 loss.
Standout running back Mark Paule Jr., who rushed for 44 yards on the day, was knocked out of the game with a spine injury and was transported to San Joaquin General Hospital via ambulance before being transferred to Oakland Children’s Hospital for closer observation and tests.
By Saturday night he was up and walking around.
“We’d like to thank the many friends and family that have sent well-wishes and prayers for his speedy recovery,” said head coach Mark Paule Sr. “He is up and walking around and is in good spirits.”
While Miller’s strike accounted for the game’s lone score, he only connected on one other pass and was picked off five times. Castillo led Manteca’s rushing attack with 68 yards, and Paule Jr. did what he could in the defensive backfield by pulling in three interceptions.
Jaguars 18, Broncos 0
Behind the stellar play of their offensive line the Jaguars were able to do pretty much anything they wanted on offense.
With John Cohen grinding his way to 135 rushing yards and pair of touchdowns, quarterback Gerson Gomez was able to amass 95 passing yards and connect with Tyrus Verhoeven for a score. Carlos Perez also pulled in a pass for 60 yards.
Defensively Manteca pitched a shutout behind Koby Shippley’s performance, netting a pair of sacks and four tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Israel Gray also had a sack and four tackles for losses.
Broncos 18, Jaguars 6
Defense was the order of the day for the Jaguars in their battle against undefeated Modesto.
They held the Broncos scoreless for the first half and held a six point lead at the break, relying on Angel Baray, Leonardo Barilla, Dominic Rea, Kyle Lynch, Jaylen Jackson and Jose Ceja to put a stop to Modesto’s potent offense.
But it wouldn’t be enough to keep the Broncos from making adjustments and rebounding in the second half.
Ceja finished with three tackles and an interception, but it was Garay — with seven tackles and a blocked punt that he returned for a touchdown — that provided the firepower for the Jaguars defense.