LODI CON­QUERS BEAR CREEK IN FOOT­BALL, 35-7

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By David Witte NEWS-SENTINEL SPORTS ED­I­TOR

Com­ing off its first loss, and with league play loom­ing around the cor­ner, the Lodi High foot­ball team scored four plays into Fri­day’s game against Bear Creek.

And that was after start­ing on de­fense.

Bear Creek coughed up five turnovers and Lodi’s Chris­tian Zamora ran for 138 yards and a pair of touch­downs as Lodi cruised to a 35-7 vic­tory at the Grape Bowl.

“We got out of this game healthy, we’re get­ting guys back — that’s the thing, be­fore the sea­son, you look at a team and you have a good team, but if you get the in­jury bug, it ru­ins your plans,” said Lodi coach Ge­orge Due­nas. “It’s the art of foot­ball. Right now we’re start­ing to get healthy, we’re start­ing to get com­fort­able, so we’re in a great spot head­ing into next week.”

An­other big con­trib­u­tor for Lodi (4-1) was re­ceiver/line­backer Korbin Ma­son, who caught two touch­down passes — from two dif­fer­ent quar­ter­backs — to go along with a sack and a fum­ble re­cov­ery on de­fense.

“I mean, you’ve got to do for your team,” Ma­son said. “You’ve got to make plays for the boys, and try and get the of­fense to the ball so we can put more points up.”

The Bru­ins re­ceived the open­ing kick­off, and two plays later fum­bled the ball to the Lodi de­fense on their own 16-yard line. Two plays later, Niko Cabr­era crashed through a de­fender into the end zone for the open­ing touch­down. Bear Creek (0-5) mounted a long drive to the Lodi 16 in re­sponse, only to lose the ball on a fum­ble again.

The Flames went 73 yards in four plays, a drive that ended on a 36-yard Adam Schall­berger pass to Ma­son, who caught the ball over a leap­ing cor­ner­back on the 10-yard line and ran it in.

After Bear Creek scored its only points of the game on a sim­i­lar pass from Gabe Ro­driguez to Mar­cos Tris­tan, Lodi put to­gether a sus­tained drive to put Ma­son in the end zone again, this time on a 6-yard pass from Lo­gan Stout early in the se­cond quar­ter.

“We had to do some­thing,” Ma­son said about last week’s loss to Edi­son, Lodi’s first of the sea­son. “We couldn’t just let peo­ple doubt us on that game, so we had to keep it up, keep our heads up.”

The teams set­tled into a bat­tle in the mid­dle of the field un­til mid­way through the third quar­ter, when Lodi’s Jose Bravo blocked a Calvin Tran punt at about the 50-yard line, and Cabr­era scooped it for a re­turn deep into Bruin ter­ri­tory. With an­oth

er short field, two runs from Zamora put the Flames in the end zone to go up 28-7, bounc­ing off at least three de­fend­ers on his 17-yard score.

“Of­fen­sively we strug­gled last week, so I thought we did a de­cent job for the most part, com­ing out,” Due­nas said. “We were able to score some points right away, and plus with the home­com­ing, it’s al­ways a dis­trac­tion. I don’t care what any­one says, and our guys did a good job balanc­ing both. So it was good com­ing off the loss.”

Bear Creek put the ball on the ground for the third time two plays into their next drive, and Lodi gave the ball to Zamora again for a 27-yard touch­down run on 3rd and 11.

That turned out to be the fi­nal score of the game with 3:11 re­main­ing in the third quar­ter, as Bear Creek went three-and-out and then stalled at its own 29yard line on its two fourth-quar­ter drives. Lodi put its re­serves in for its fi­nal drive, and ad­vanced the ball to the Bear Creek 3 be­fore kneel­ing out the clock.

“We’re feel­ing pretty good right now,” Ma­son said. “We think we can do some pretty big things. I mean, if every­body gets to­gether, we can do this.”

The Flames now head into Tri-City Ath­letic League play, start­ing next Fri­day with Lin­coln (5-0) at the Grape Bowl. Due­nas was cau­tious not to read too much into the big of­fen­sive night against Bear Creek.

“It’s pretty good, but I know they’re banged up pretty good, too. They said they lost like seven kids. Starters,” Due­nas said. “So it’s a big deal, but hon­estly we’re go­ing to be play­ing a big­ger, more phys­i­cal line next week. I mean, I’m ex­cited, de­fense is play­ing well, we’ve just got to step up next week.”

Stout added 52 rush­ing yards on four car­ries. For Bear Creek, Brian Adams car­ried the ball 16 times for 82 yards, Daveyon Phillips had 11 rushes for 21 yards, and Ro­driguez com­pleted 6 of 14 passes for 67 yards.

“Hey, we’re 4-1, man,” Due­nas said. “We’ve al­ready sur­passed last year, so that’s ex­cit­ing. I’m ex­cited for them.”

BEA AHBECK/NEWS-SENTINEL

Lodi's Gabe Bi­a­gioni (63) reaches to grab Bear Creek's Brian Adams dur­ing their game at the Grape Bowl on Fri­day.

BEA AHBECK/NEWS-SENTINEL

Lodi run­ning back Chris­tian Zamora is tack­led by Bear Creek's player.

BEA AHBECK/NEWS-SENTINEL

Lodi's Korbin Ma­son runs into the end zone for a touch­down in Fri­day’s game against Bear Creek at the Grape Bowl.

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