BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer email@example.com
CARSON -- Bakersfield Christian quarterback Brandon Jones threw for 161 yards in the first quarter Friday night to help the Eagles score two early touchdowns.
But Modesto-Central Catholic made some adjustments that did a good job of slowing Jones down and containing the BCHS offense.
After the first quarter, the Eagles didn't get another touchdown until the game had only 34 seconds remaining and the Raiders had the game in hand.
"We played our regular package the first two series, a lot of zones," said Billy Hylla, Central Catholic's defensive coordinator. "The third series we switched to our nickel package, which is almost exclusively man-to-man.
"In that, we were able to deke our coverages. We mixed up our pressure and we were almost exclusively man-to-man after that."
The coverages slowed Jones down. His passing yardage totals dropped to 83 yards in the second quarter and 54 in the third. And the Eagles had only one field goal in those two periods.
Central Catholic also used its safeties in frequent double-teams with the cornerbacks on the Eagles' wideouts.
"They were dropping back and double covering me and Josh (Jackson)," said senior wide receiver Hayden Kuchta. "We had our success, but when they double-cover two of our best receivers, it's hard getting the ball there."
The Eagles' inability to mount any consistency in their running game allowed Central Catholic to focus on taking away the outside receivers. BCHS finished with only 35 net rushing yards.
Kuchta caught the Eagles' first TD pass from quarterback Brandon Jones, a 5-yard play on the game's opening drive.
Jackson broke a tackle and finally got loose for a huge TD play, 71 yards, but only 34 seconds remained in the game at that point.
"We did some things where it looks like we're blitzing safeties but they're actually dropping back," Hylla said. "For any high school quarterback, that can be difficult to read.
"And as the game went on, and the run became less of a concern to us, we did play with two safeties a little more."
Jones said: "I was making terrible reads. I just came out and wasn't sharp."
"They were backing off because they knew we had to throw the ball," BCHS coach Jerald Pierucci said. "That was one of the big things: We weren't able to run the ball tonight."