Big guys get­ting some credit for Beni­cia’s 10-1 sea­son

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - SPORTS - By Matt O’Don­nell mod­on­[email protected]­al­don­ @mod­onel­lvth on Twit­ter

Quar­ter­backs and run­ning backs have been known to take care of their of­fen­sive line.

For ex­am­ple, ex-Tex­ans run­ning back Arian Fos­ter bought Seg­ways for each of his of­fen­sive line­men, who helped him grab his third straight 1,000yard sea­son in 2012. A year ago, Bills quar­ter­back Josh Allen bought new iPads for his line. Rams quar­ter­back Jared Goff and run­ning back Todd Gur­ley pur­chased Po­laris Rangers for their of­fen­sive line last year.

At Beni­cia High School, the Pan­thers’ skill play­ers ap­pre­ci­ate their of­fen­sive line as well but the guys in the trenches are still wait­ing on that gift.

“Last year, af­ter one of our games that we re­ally wanted to win, our quar­ter­back Kameron (Lane) said he was go­ing to buy us ice cream,” said Beni­cia’s se­nior of­fen­sive line­man Seth Pat­ter­son, laugh­ing. “That still hasn’t hap­pened yet. We’re still look­ing for­ward to that, and we’re con­tin­u­ing to bully him un­til he’s go­ing to make that hap­pen.”

Even though the Pan­thers’ O-line might be crav­ing Baskin Rob­bins, they’ve done their din­ing on most Fri­day evenings this sea­son. Beni­cia is 10-1 head­ing into Satur­day’s North Coast Sec­tion Divi­sion III semi­fi­nal at Ran­cho Co­tate (8-3) in Rohnert Park.

The Pan­thers have been a con­sis­tent play­off par­tic­i­pant in the last decade but the team has lagged be­hind op­po­nents like Oak­dale, In­derkum and Chris­tian Broth­ers, pro­grams that have boasted su­pe­rior of­fen­sive lines.

“Foot­ball is their reli­gion out there,” Beni­cia of­fen­sive line coach Mike Hur­ley said.

Hur­ley said one of the dif­fer­ences this year was get­ting play­ers into the weight room more in the off­sea­son.

“We’re try­ing to change the cul­ture at Beni­cia and get them in there,” Hur­ley said. “A lot of kids play other sports, so it’s tough to cor­ral them. But since we’ve been suc­cess­ful, the kids are ex­cited and they’re go­ing to do that more and more. … I think they’re go­ing to hit the weight room.”

The O-line at Beni­cia has just two se­niors who start — Pat­ter­son, who is a re­turner and plays left guard and Brae­den Yee, who played de­fen­sive end a year ago. Yee said it was the first time in his life he had played O-line and said the most dif­fi­cult as­pect was learn­ing all of the plays and the of­fen­sive schemes.

“Our de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor talked to me about it through­out the year, telling me it would help the team,” Yee said. “He told me that the team would ben­e­fit with me mov­ing over to of­fense.”

Ju­niors Se­bas­tian Ma­ciel and P.J. Mor­gan also start on the line along with sopho­more cen­ter Michael Pitta.

Pat­ter­son said the line­men worked hard to­gether in the off­sea­son to get ready for the sea­son.

“It was re­ally im­por­tant for us to get a good start be­cause the of­fen­sive line is where ev­ery­thing starts,” he said. “With­out the block­ing, there’s re­ally no room for any run­ning or pass­ing. As far as pre­par­ing, we did spend a lot of time in the weight room over the sum­mer, we came out for sum­mer prac­tices, went over our as­sign­ments and made sure we had ev­ery­thing down men­tally as well as phys­i­cally.”

Yee, the right tackle, said he takes a lot of pride in the of­fense run­ning smoothly.

“I’m not sure how the other line­men feel but for me per­son­ally, I take a lot of pride in that,” he said. “I think the line over­all should get more credit.”

Yee said the unit’s best game was likely against Sut­ter — Beni­cia’s lone de­feat.

Pat­ter­son said that since the line is still fairly young, the se­niors have tried to guide the oth­ers as far as prepa­ra­tion and ex­e­cu­tion.

“There is



lead­er­ship role as far as be­ing a se­nior on the of­fen­sive line, es­pe­cially when there is only two of us,” he said. “They look up to us, so it’s a mat­ter of let­ting them know their re­spon­si­bil­ity on the plays if they don’t know it, giv­ing them tips and tech­niques so they can beat their man.”

* * *

Ran­cho Co­tate’s record may not look as im­pres­sive as No. 3 Beni­cia’s but the No. 2-seeded Cougars suf­fered losses to Cam­polindo and Car­di­nal New­man, two op­po­nents that have a com­bined record of 19-3.

Ran­cho Co­tate also dis­patched El Cer­rito 35-0 in

the pre­sea­son. Beni­cia beat El Cer­rito 34-14 a week ago in the North Coast Sec­tion play­off opener.

The Cougars did re­ceive a scare from No. 7 Wind­sor be­fore pulling out a 38-33 win in the first round last week.

“Wind­sor is not a bad team,” Beni­cia head coach Craig Holden said. “You get to the quar­ters of the play­offs and you have to face some good teams. Wind­sor is in Ran­cho’s league and they could have beat them but they threw an in­ter­cep­tion for a touch­down and (Ran­cho) got a scoop and score for a touch­down. Four­teen points in the

fourth quar­ter is a gamechange­r.”

It might be a cliche but Holden said with two evenly matched teams, it could come down to the team that makes the least amount of mis­takes.

“We’re prob­a­bly go­ing to have some penal­ties. Why? Be­cause we’ve had penal­ties ev­ery game from the be­gin­ning of the year,” Holden said. “I hope that we don’t, but it’s just the way it is. Hope­fully those penal­ties are not in key sit­u­a­tions. We’ll see.”


The Beni­cia of­fen­sive line, from left, Brae­den Yee, Michael Pitta, Seth Pat­ter­son, Derek Camp­bell, P.J. Mor­gan and Se­bas­tian Ma­ciel hope to lead the Pan­thers to vic­tory in the semi­fi­nals of the North Coast Sec­tion play­offs.

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