Joseph Filippini had another big game for the Tokay High football team.
But the Stagg football squad had a bigger game in the final 24 minutes on Friday night to give Stagg a 35-23 win over Tokay, which played its first home game at the renovated Hubbard Field.
Prior to the game, members of the Hubbard family gathered at midfield for a brief re-dedication, along with some members of the Lodi Unified School District’s board of trustees, Tokay High Principal Erik Sandstorm, Tokay High football head coach Michael Holst, who is also the school’s athletic director and members of the school’s varsity cheerleading squad gathered at midfield for the re-dedication.
Stagg built its 21-20 halftime lead in the second half with two touchdowns; one each in the third and fourth quarters. Delta Kings quarterback Elijah Turner, listed on Stagg’s roster as a running back but used as a quarterback for most of the game, completed an 18-yard pass to Willie Turner with 4:14 left in the third quarter. Alonzo Tapia booted the extra-point for a 28-20 advantage.
Then Tokay (1-2) scored its only points entering the fourth quarter. Tiger place-kicker Ruben Gomez booted a 23-yard field goal with 11:07 left that trimmed Stagg’s lead to 28-23.
Tokay gained momentum on Stagg’s next offensive drive. Tiger cornerback Adrian Nava recovered a Delta King fumble at Stagg’s 37-yard line. The Tigers moved the ball to the Delta King’s 13-yard line. But on fourth down and three yards to go for a first down, a loss of three yards led to Stagg getting the ball back on loss of downs.
Then Stagg (1-2) iced the game on its next offensive drive. Elijah Turner, flushed out of the pocket thanks to the Tigers’ defense, scrambled toward his team’s sidelines. That’s where he found wide receiver Jason McBride on a 69-yard strike, catching the football over a Tokay defensive back and running the last 50 yards untouched for the 35-23 score with 4:24 left in the game.
Tokay had two more offensive opportunities in the last four minutes of the contest. But the first drive ended on a loss of downs at its own 25 and Elijah Turner, playing defensive back, picked off a pass thrown by Tiger quarterback Jacob Varney.
“I told you before the game, everybody wants to win,” Holst told his players after the game. “Stagg wants to win, you guys want to win, the fans want you to win.”
Filippini, a junior running back and free safety who scored six touchdowns in the Tigers’ 56-55 win over Bear Creek on Aug. 30, scored three touchdowns in the first half. The first one came on Tigers’ first offensive possession on Hubbard Field; taking the hand-off from Varney, Filippini went up the middle and rocketed 76 yards, untouched by the Delta Kings’ defense, for a 6-0 advantage and his 10th touchdown of the season. Gomez booted the extra-point for a 7-0 score.
After scoring its first touchdown of the game but missed the extra-point early in the second quarter that still had Tokay leading 7-6, Stagg took the lead at 7:41 when starting quarterback Brandon Wood completed a 54-yard pass to Willie Turner. The extra-point made it Stagg 14-7.
Then Filippini flipped on the engines of his legs again for the Tigers. This time on the kickoff return, when he scored on an 89-yard jaunt down the Stagg sidelines. Gomez’s boot was good but Stagg still led 14-13.
Filipino scored his final touchdown of the game in the second quarter with 1:45 left on a 5-yard run that made it 20-14. But Stagg countered with a Elijah Turner 47-yard run with 57.3 second left in the quarter that gave his team a 21-20 halftime lead.
“One that matters most is next week,” Holst told his Tokay players, referring to playing at Chavez. “
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.