Maybe the Lodi High football team should seriously consider playing all of its home games at Hubbard Field in upcoming years.
For a second time this season, Lodi won at Tokay’s revamped on-campus stadium. But this time it was against the Tokay High football squad itself.
Big plays from running back Christian Zamora and quarterback Logan Stout in the end cemented Lodi’s 28-14 win over Tokay in their Tri-City Athletic League finale to win the city championship trophy. Tokay, too, had big plays in the game on offense.
Now comes the waiting game for Lodi (2-3 in the TCAL, 6-4). On Sunday around 2 p.m., the Sac-Joaquin Section will be releasing its playoff brackets for Divisions I through VII. Entering its league finale, Lodi had an 8.2 rating.
Lodi is one of two area high school football teams that are in the running for a playoff berth; Liberty Ranch (5-5), which beat rival Galt 35-28 at Warrior Stadium also on Friday, is the other area squad.
On what would be its final offensive drive of the game in the fourth quarter, Lodi picked up a first down thanks to Zamora, on an off-tackle play, ran 38 yards to the Tokay 24-yard line and a first down. Zamora, only a junior, finished with 21 carries for 181 yards.
“Once we got our running game started going, they couldn’t do much to stop it,” said Lodi coach George Duenas on the Tigers’ defense trying to defend the run. “Christian has been our underdog.”
Before Zamora’s big run, Stout, a senior who has been a three-year starter at quarterback and safety for the Flames, came up with a big play at the right time toward the end of the quarter to ice the win.
“Logan did a great job,” Duenas said. “The guys did a good job on defense for the most part.”
After a Lodi punt earlier in the quarter, Tokay (1-4 in the TCAL, 2-8) started its offensive drive from its own 22. Nine players later, Tokay quarterback Jacob Varney (11 of 26 passes for 202 and two interceptions) completed 2 of 5 passes, one each to wide receiver Adrian Nava and running back Joseph Filippini of 17 and 34 yards respectively. Toss in a Lodi penalty of pass interference and the Tigers were at the Lodi 10.
“It’s one of his better games he’s played,” said Tokay coach Michael Holst of Varney. “He kind of displayed as far as taking vertical shots.”
Stout, from his safety spot, picked off a Varney pass in the end zone and ran the football down the Lodi sideline to the Flames’ 25. Zamora ran the ball the next three times that included his 46 yards, including the 38 yard run that moved the football into Tiger territory on the north end of the field and locked up the city championship trophy for the next 366 days — 2020 is a leap year.
“Someone had to make the play,” Stout said. “I stepped it up. I’ll make it.”
At the 8:10 mark in the final quarter, Stout increased the Flames’ lead to 28-14 on a 1-yard quarterback keeper, as he leaped over his own linemen and most of the Tigers’ defensive line and middle linebackers. Adolfo Sanchez booted the extra-point, one of four successful ones in the game.
Both Lodi, which led 21-14, and Tokay didn’t score in the third quarter. That was because each were guilty of a combined three turnovers and losing the football on loss of downs.
Lodi defensive back Jose Bravo picked off a Varney pass earlier in the quarter at the Lodi 22. Then three plays later, Tokay defensive end Bradley Handel recovered a Lodi fumble at midfield.
Tokay marched down the field to the Lodi 1-yard line. As a Tokay running back was about the cross the white line into the end zone, he fumbled and Lodi outside linebacker Myles Lozano scooped up the football and tackled at the 2 for the third turnover in the quarter.
“In games like this, you’ve got the ball at the 1, you’ve got to go and punch it in,” Holst said.
But Lodi found little success in moving the football, as its drive stalled at its own 33 and lost the ball on fourth down and three.
A Tokay turnover that was recovered by Lodi outside linebacker Korbin Mason set up the Flames in taking the lead for good in the second quarter at 21-14. Stout completed a nine-play, 80-yard drive on a 15-yard quarterback keeper with 6:08 left on the clock.
The Tigers tied the game at 14-14 when Filippini scored on a 32-yard run where he faked moves to his right and left that fooled four Lodi defenders and broke free down the Tokay sideline into the end zone. Marcus Cahue booted the extra-point.
Three touchdowns were scored between Lodi and Tokay in the opening quarter. After both teams exchange offensive possessions, Lodi took a 7-0 lead at 8:25 when Stout, on an option, kept the football, broke past a group of Tokay defenders and ran down the Tokay sideline for a 68-yard run.
Lodi upped its lead to 14-0 when Zamora scored on a 9-yard off-tackle play.
Tokay got on the scoreboard with 27.8 seconds left in the first quarter. Varney completed a 65-yard pass to wide receiver Colby Baker, who was running a post pattern. Baker grabbed the football over a Lodi defensive back and kicked into a higher gear, running to the south end zone for the score. Cahue booted the extra-point.
This is the second consecutive year Lodi has won the City Championship trophy. In the 2018 game at the Grape Bowl, Lodi posted a 42-8 win over Tokay.
Lodi won its first game at Hubbard Field two months ago, with a decisive 41-15 win over Stagg in a pre-season game at Hubbard Field on Sept. 13. The Grape Bowl, which Lodi plays all of its home football games, was being used for the annual Grape Festival on the day of the Flames’ win and weekend.
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.