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Football Bruins Bounced In Tough Homecoming Loss
A 13-0 deficit in the last three quarters of play showcased the resilience of Riverbank High's varsity football team, but couldn't erase a 35-point Modesto Christian first quarter in a 48-0 loss during the Bruin homecoming on Friday, Sept. 24.

The Crusaders, small school state champions a year ago, were hungry for their first win of the season after nail-biting losses to undefeated Livingston, Division I Downey and a one-sided defeat to host Oakdale.

Modesto Christian also forfeited to Calaveras after the death of a player, paving the way for their first win of the season in shutout fashion at RHS.

"Modesto Christian is very talented, and we knew that going in," Riverbank coach Aaron Thurman said. "They were hungry for their first win, and they had some really diverse play calling."

The Crusaders found pay dirt with five first quarter touchdowns; including a game opening touchdown pass to Division I recruit Raymond Nelson, a 44-yard punt return and three rushing scores.

The Bruins allowed a 70-yard punt return score in the third quarter and surrendered one more rush into the end zone with just under six minutes to play.

The Bruins attempted to return quarterback Alex Reynaga and running back Angel Duarte to the field, but both re-aggravated previous injuries to leave Riverbank with just 15 padded players to finish the game.

"Alex and Angel showed tremendous fortitude to get dressed and attempt to play," Thurman said. "Once again our numbers were kind of crazy with kids being hurt."

Duarte still managed eight rushes for 66 yards, and saw teammate Eddie Sanchez take 20 touches for 96 yards.

Offensive lineman and defensive nose guard Sergio Rocha delivered a brilliant game on both sides of the ball, grading a 96 on Thurman's offensive blocking rating with 14 tackles opposite the potent MC attack.

Things won't get much easier this week when the Bruins play host to perennial Trans-Valley League power, Escalon. The Cougars (3-1) worked Dixon over for a 45-3 blowout last week.

"I think we have to continue to get better with our tackling, and show no quit with no excuses," Thurman said. "We play in a very competitive small school area, and if we don't get better and play well we will continue to struggle.

"But I think we have plenty of athletes on this team and we need to continue to prepare hard, play hard and continue to fight."

Kickoff Friday night will be at about 7:30 p.m. at Angelo Novi Field.


Riverbank High's junior varsity team struggled to a 63-6 loss to visiting Modesto Christian after two tough injuries to linemen Bobby Schmidt and Nestor Montoya. The JV Bruins saw their lone score when a 57-yard strike from Anthony Gonzalez brought Jacques Lewis to the one-yard line. From there, Antonio Perez hit Jacob Smink on a short pass to pay dirt.

"We hope to have a better showing this week against Escalon," Bruin JV coach Mike Foster said.