An excellent week ended on a bittersweet note for the Davis High junior varsity boys soccer team.
After smoking Laguna Creek and Monterey Trail, the Blue Devils settled for a 2-2 tie with Jesuit under the lights Saturday night at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium.
Still, DHS moved to 4-0 in league play with resounding 6-0 and 8-0 wins over the Cardinals and Mustangs, respectively.
The locals shared the wealth as Ethan Hessl, Matt Cheung, Mike Meadows-Smith, Jesse Hopp and Raunak Manandhar (two) scored against Laguna Creek, while Kyle Fix, Sebastian Gonzales, Pablo Guarnizo, Thomas Lloyd, Cheung, Hopp and Manandhar hit the back of the net against Monterey Trail. Isaiah Alba, Kyle Gold and Sammy Walker had numerous assists.
Meanwhile, keeper Javi Nieves kept up his terrific net play.
Then — having lost to Jesuit 5-2 earlier in the season — the Blue Devils packed in the defense on Saturday.
They frustrated the Marauders but, midway through the first half, JHS scored on a free kick.
Minutes later, Manandhar tied the match with the goal of the year: a twisting shot from well outside the box that skidded past the diving keeper. In the second half, Ben Stahl fought two Jesuit defenders to gain a corner kick.
Matt Rowen placed it perfectly and after a Jaleel Dmeiri header, Fix rocketed in a shot for the 2-1 lead. Strong defense by back-liners Daniel Perez and Tim Baxter, along with Hopp, Joe Rainer and Gonzales at midfield, kept the Marauders at bay.
But in a stoppage time that never seemed to end, Jesuit got the equalizer just before the whistle blew, thanks to a long throw-in and a chip shot.
Knocking off Ponderosa, Rio Americano and Woodcreek, the Blue Devils couldn’t get past nemesis Jesuit and settled for third in the Marauders’ weekend tournament.
In a 15-10 sinking of Pondo, Patrick Cajandig scored six times, Nick Borowsky added five goals, Harrison Balsdon tallied a hat trick and Spencer Talbot netted one.
When the Raiders fell, 14-6, it was Balsdon leading the way with five goals, Gabriel Leal and Borowsky adding three apiece, Cajandig posting a deuce and Jonathan Desideri tallying once.
Leal’s four goals led DHS over a stubborn Woodcreek. Talbot and Borowsky each had two goals and Kevin Krupa found the net once in that outing.
Against Jesuit, the 10-6 defeat saw some solid DHS offense thanks to three goals each from Borowsky and Cajandig.
Despite a dramatic fourth-quarter rally, the Blue Devils suffered their first road loss of the season on Thursday, falling 18-13 at Lodi.
The hosts had the early momentum.
After DHS stalled on its initial drive, Lodi took over on its 35-yard line. Davis’ Jake Griffiths made a couple of nice tackles to slow the Flames’ running game, but midway through the first quarter, LHS pushed the ball across for a 6-0 lead.
On the next drive, Devil Gabe Fong corralled a pass from Jack Beckman, got a down-field block from Tommy McTygue and wound up with a 36-yard gain (all the way to Lodi’s 33-yard line).
Runs by Beckman and Glen Welch, and a pass from Beckman to Will Bodendorfer, netted the locals a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line, but a fumble on the next play halted that drive.
That reversal of fortune saw the Flames make it a 12-0 after driving the length of the field.
Despite another turnover, the Blue Devil defense turned the momentum back around with a quick stop.
Tackles by Charley Stephenson, Gerardo Cisneros and Pranish Manandhar set up a fourth down for Lodi. When cornerback Benicio Torrecampo knocked down the last-ditch pass, it was Davis’ time to do some damage …
On the second play after the turnover on downs, Gabe McKinney broke off a 40-yard run, setting up first-and-goal at the seven. A 17-yard sack made it look like DHS might come up empty again, but Welch found an open spot in the end zone and captured Beckman’s touchdown pass.
The celebration was short-lived, however, as Lodi returned the subsequent kick off for a touchdown. After Davis’ Alex Levine made a diving recovery of Lodi’s onside kick attempt, halftime arrived with DHS trailing, 18-6.
In the third quarter, the Devils kept battling …
After both teams exchanged a few possessions, completions to Welch and Bodendorfer took Davis inside the 5-yard line, where Beckman hit McTygue for the TD. Beckman kicked the extra point to make the score 18-13 with 7:34 left in the game.
Once again, the Blue Devil defense rose to the occasion as tackles by Bodendorfer, Greg Rohnstock, Chris Batula, Cisneros and Griffiths forced Lodi to punt the ball back to DHS with 4:02 remaining.
The Devils got into Lodi territory and put a scare into the Flames as Bodendorfer gained 15 yards on a reception, but a spectacular leaping interception on the next play sealed Lodi’s victory.
Competing at the Clovis Invite last weekend with their varsity teammates, several Blue Devils had success in the junior varsity section, despite running the same 3.1-mile course at Woodward Park in Fresno.
DHS sophomore Claire Dicker had the top performance of the day for the girls, placing third in a time of 20:17. Freshman Elise Chu was the next Devil finisher in 20:55 (11th), followed by Elisa McIsaac in 16th place with a 21:06. Katherine Dimond took 27th and Jeanne-Marie McPherson was the fifth Davis finisher, crossing the line in 42nd place.
Leading the Blue Devil boys was freshman Kellen Browning, crossed seventh in 17:15. Alex Arnheiter was 10th in 17:19, while Blake Croft came across next in 16th place (17:27). Sean Lee (41st) and Andrew Leung (60th) completed the local top five.
Team scores were not awarded for the JV race.