Downey mis­takes costly in play­off loss to In­derkum

The Modesto Bee (Sunday) - - High Schools - BY BRIAN CLARK bclark@mod­bee.com

The end of Downey High’s foot­ball sea­son came sud­denly in the sec­ond quar­ter on Fri­day night.

With about five min­utes left in the half, the Knights saw their 14-13 lead over un­beaten In­derkum be­come a 35-14 deficit.

By the time it was over, the Knights had fallen 69-29, con­clud­ing their sea­son at 7-5.

“(In­derkum) is good,” Downey coach Jeremy Plaa said. “They have a lot of speed. The game just got away from us.”

While Downey looks to next sea­son, the Tigers travel to Modesto on Fri­day for a game against Cen­tral Catholic in a SacJoaquin Sec­tion Divi­sion II semi­fi­nal.

“We took an­other step for­ward with a first-round play­off win,” Plaa said by phone af­ter the game. “But we have to keep on im­prov­ing.”

Bryce Gouker threw four touch­down passes to guide the Downey of­fense.

He hit Ethan Di­fun­to­rum on an 8-yard scor­ing pass to put the Knights in front 7-0 and An­der­son Grover on a 37-yarder with seven min­utes left be­fore half­time to put his team ahead 14-13.

In­derkum scored the next 22 points be­fore half­time, aided by two Downey turnovers.

In the sec­ond half, Gouker con­nected with Javon Gamez on a 78-yard pass play and Grover again to close out the scor­ing.

Plaa said he felt his team im­proved by play­ing in the new, six-team Cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia Ath­letic League. The CCAL fea­tures four of Modesto’s largest foot­ball pro­grams along with Tur­lock and Pit­man.

“(The CCAL) made us bet­ter be­cause we played a much tighter sched­ule,” Plaa said. “We were play­ing five other teams who chal­lenged us in dif­fer­ent ways. We didn’t have any for-sure wins. It made us fo­cus through­out the week. There’s a col­lec­tive ben­e­fit to play­ing good teams week in and week out.”

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