Diego Ramirez hustled onto the field at Grape Bowl with hopes of booting a field goal for his Tokay High football team.
The senior kicker did his job. But the visiting Downey Knights were hitting full stride against the Tigers on Friday night, posting a 61-25 win.
Tokay outside linebacker Luke Millan recovered a punt return fumble at the Knights’ 29 yards line midway through the second quarter. But the Tigers’ offense moved the ball to the 20-yard line in four tries. That’s when Ramirez and the field goal unit came onto the field, as he calmly booted a 37-yard field that helped Tokay (1-2) cut Downey’s lead to 16-9 with 2:33 left in the quarter.
But Downey (3-0), which had been averaging 66 points but giving up 50.5 points, rattled off three touchdowns in the final minutes of the quarter that led to a 40-9 halftime lead. Two of those scores were courtesy of Tokay, which lost the ball twice that led to the Knights’ scores. Two of those scores came off the arm of Knights quarterback Bryce Peterson, who threw touchdown passes of 58 and 13 yards to Jairol Harris-Red and Javon Gamez respectively.
“After (the field goal) there was that three minute window that we didn’t withstand the onslaught,” said Tokay coach Michael Holst. “We’ve got to handle adversity a little better, and play as a team better.”
The Knights increased their lead to 47-9 on Jordan Wilson’s 1-yard run with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter. But the Tigers responded after the kickoff, thanks to a big run of 28 yards from quarterback Daniel Garlick, spotting the ball at the Downey 33. Next play, Garlick found wide receiver Nick Elliott in the end zone on a 28 yard strike. Garlick pitched the ball to Millan for the 2-point conversion to make it 47-17.
Tokay scored its final touchdown with 11:31 remaining in the contest. Junior fullback Nathan Branco crossed the plane on a 17 yard run sweep play, which was followed when Garlick ran in the 2-point conversion to make it a 47-25 score.
“We’re blessed with some depth,” said Holst of running backs Branco and Millan. “They bring a little different style, each of them, to the run game. They each did a good job in running the ball.”
Downey used a 15 yard run and an interception to record its final points of the game.
In the first quarter, the Tigers drove from their own 1-yard line to record their first touchdown of the game. Thanks to runs of 12 and 21 yards from running back Cory Glasgow, who played most of the game despite the fact he had been ill most of the week. An off-balanced throw from signal caller Ralph Martinez to wide receiver Joshua Kirchner of 24 yards, placing the ball at the Downey 40.
On the next play, Glasgow went up the middle, busted through two tackles and found room to run on a 40 yard sprint with 3:43 left to make it 6-0.
Downey rode the arm and legs of Peterson again, this time on a 45 yard pass to Cody Schut, plus a 6 yard quarterback keeper. That gave the Knights a 16-6 lead.
In the frosh-soph game, Tokay led 30-26 in the final minute of its game against Downey. But the Knights used a midfield pass to post a 33-30 victory.
Contact reporter Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.