Chowchilla secondary responds to challenge in Los Banos shutout | The Merced Sun-Star




Alex Pittz said he had a rare loss of composure at the Chowchilla football team’s Tuesday practice.

Pittz wasn’t impressed with his defense’s sense of urgency, particularly in the secondary. The Redskins’ coach said its lack there of was evident on the film of Chowchilla’s victory over Central Valley Christian, where it surrendered 349 passing yards and three passing scores. Pittz used his Tuesday blow up to individually challeng the members of the secondary to step it up.

His unit more than answered the call on Friday night.

Los Banos coach Dustin Caropreso thought his squad could exploit some of the same things that CVC had done successfully, but it never came to pass. The Despite putting the ball in the air 25 times, the Tigers were limited to just 36 passing yards. The Redskin defense added three first-half interceptions, including an Asa Shields 91-yard pick six, as Chowchilla defeated LB 27-0 to post its fourth shutout in five games.

“We threw down the gauntlet at practice on Tuesday,” Pittz said. “I went to each individual and challenged them to put forth a little more effort. They responded tonight. I don’t blame Los Banos for trying to pass on us after seeing the film, but our guys were very active back there and rose up to the challenge.”

The two teams exchanged interceptions to open the game, but it was Chowchilla (5-0) that took advantage.

The Redskins marched the game’s opening drive deep into Los Banos territory, but a Harvin Manzanarez interception turned them away. Shields took the ball right back for Chowchilla three plays later, with his first of two interceptions. Justin Cantrell ran the ball in from 13 yards out on the very next play to open the scoring.

Los Banos (3-2) didn’t seem phased by the early deficit, marching the ball right back into Redskin territory on their next two possessions. A Cantrall interception on a tipped pass ended one drive at the Chowchilla 19. The Tigers turned it over on downs at the Redskin 11 on their next series.

It was that kind of opening half for LB, with three trips into the red zone and no points to show for it. Chowchilla made it pay with the big play.

Ronnie Reyes (14 carries, 167 yards, two touchdowns) took a counter 89 yards for a score to make it 14-0 and Shields expanded the lead with his 91-yard interception return on LB’s very next series to make it 21-0 at the half.

“That’s the tough thing,” Carpreso said. “You take away those two big plays and it’s a very different ballgame. We moved the ball. We gave ourselves chances in the first half, but didn’t take advantage. I thought our defense played well. They really only had the one drive on us, but if you don’t find a way to score, it doesn’t really matter.”

Los Banos didn’t get many opportunities to make it a game after the break.

The Tigers’ only sustained drive came in the final 2:23 of the third quarter, but stalled at the Chowchilla 30 before turning the ball over on downs.

The Redskins answered with a quintessential Chowchilla drive to close the game. Pittz’s squad took over with 11:50 to play in the game and proceeded to chew up over nine minutes of clock. The Redskins marched 72 yards in 15 plays to deliver the finishing blow as Reyes put the game away with a 5-yard TD run with 2:25 to play.

“They had a lot of guys in the box and were making us earn it a little more than some of the other teams we’ve played,” Reyes said. “It took a series or two, but we got a feel for what they were doing and adjusted. Coach is always preaching drive, drive, drive. That’s what we were able to do. It feels good to go out and finish a game like that.”

For video highlights click the link below.

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