Monday, September 13, 2021

Missed opportunities cost ‘Jackets in loss to Durham

Williams quarterback Omar Lomeli runs away from the Durham defense during the ‘Jackets 14-8 loss to the Trojans on September 2.  Lomeli threw for 337 yards and ran for 67.

Things didn’t go quite as planned for the Williams Yellowjackets at McCarl Field last Thursday night in their long awaited season debut. 

Despite making four trips into the red zone, they came away with just one score and saw the visiting Durham Trojans steal a 14-8 victory.

Both teams, in their first game of the year, showed signs of rust, as sloppy play and a combined 11 penalties characterized much of the first half.

Williams was able to break the stalemate in the waning moments of the second quarter, when after having a touchdown waived off, quarterback Omar Lomeli connected with running back Jayr Ramirez, who made a nice adjustment on the ball to secure the catch in the corner of the end zone for the game’s first points.

Although the ‘Jackets could not convert the two point conversion, they took a 6-0 lead into intermission with their defense keeping the Trojans at bay.

However, the third quarter would prove to be the Yellowjackets’ undoing, as they turned the ball over at the goal line, then saw Durham march 92 yards in six plays to take an 8-6 lead, with just over five minutes remaining in the third period.

Unfortunately for the ‘Jackets, their next possession would be even more disastrous after a series of miscues sent them backwards nearly 40 yards and ended with a slip on the punt that turned the ball over to the Trojans on the Williams one yard line, where, one play later, Durham extended its advantage to 14-6.

Williams did seem to regain the momentum early in the final quarter, when again after turning the ball over on the goal line, Oscar Mendoza corralled the Trojan ball carrier in the end zone for a safety, but even with two more shots at retaking the lead, could get no closer.

It was a disappointing result for Coach Jeff Lemus and his team, who, although playing hard, continued to struggle in the run game.

“This is a tough one to take,” Lemus said. “We had our chances and they shouldn’t have scored. It’s hard not having a scrimmage or a game last week, because our guys aren’t in playing shape, but we need to be better. We have to protect and get the run game going. It’s a slow process, but we’ll get there.”

There were, however, some bright spots for the Yellowjackets, starting with Lomeli, who despite being under constant duress, completed 15 of 20 passes for 337 yards, in addition to rushing for another 67 yards on nine carries.

Two others making big plays were Michael Cervantes, who caught two balls for 93 yards and picked up another 42 on the ground, along with Ramirez, who hauled in five passes for 88 yards.

Defensively, Miguel Rivera and Antonio Velazquez were the top tacklers for the ‘Jackets with eight apiece, while Rivera, Mendoza, and Adan Jauregui each recorded sacks.

Williams (0-1) must move on from this loss straightaway and prepare to face Pierce in one of the biggest rivalry games in the county, the Rice Bowl, which kicks off Friday night at Gregg LeMaster Field in Arbuckle.

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