Photo credits to Jeff Chapman, Patrick Lam, and Bob Dahlberg
The football team lost to the Patterson Tigers by a score of 21-24 in their first home game of the season last Saturday afternoon.
The Bears, toting new quarterback, junior Xander Eschelman, felt confident going into the game following their victory against Elk Grove the previous week. “Elk Grove was a solid game for us,” said Junior Devin Hyde. “Not only did Xander do really well, but our defense excelled. Thanks to their four forced turnovers, our offense was on the field for two-thirds of the game, allowing us to score.”
Patterson’s offense put them inside M-A’s territory early. However, senior safety Oskar Flodh intercepted a pass in the endzone and ran it back to give the Bears good field positioning with 7:30 remaining in the first quarter.
Eschelman repeatedly connected with senior wide receiver Alek Marshall on the drive, eventually scoring a 31-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
Eschelman said after the game, “Alek is one of our big-time players. He’s always a mismatch for whoever’s guarding him.”
Patterson and M-A exchanged possession throughout the second quarter until the Tigers eventually scored a touchdown with 7:16 left in the second quarter.
Both defenses ended the first half strong, with senior linebackers Jack Kryger and Colin Kuriger each averaging 10 tackles.
In the third quarter, senior running back Mordecai Langi broke through Patterson’s defense with a huge gain, setting Eschelman up with the perfect field position to run a touchdown.
The Tigers responded, scoring both a field goal and a touchdown as the third quarter ended, putting them up 17-14.
As the fourth quarter began, the Eschelman-Marshall connection continued with an impressive catch by Marshall deep in the endzone with 10:00 left in the fourth quarter, putting the Bears up 21-17.
Unfortunately, M-A was hit with a series of bad penalties midway through the fourth quarter, allowing the Tigers to take the lead with a touchdown, 7:20 left in the game. With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Bears couldn’t were unable to score, allowing the Tigers to run out the clock and ending the game 21-24.
“Small mistakes added up, which ultimately caused our loss. In the future, we need to clean up the small stuff,” said Eschelman.
The Bears will take on the Menlo Knights this Saturday at 2 p.m.