STOCKTON -- The McClymonds High football team threw a scare into Central Catholic-Modesto in the CIF Northern Regional Division IV championship game, but turnovers sealed the Warriors' fate in a 17-14 loss Friday night.
McClymonds turned the ball over on four straight possessions in the second half, on three interceptions and a fumble. The miscues helped negate a stout effort by the Warriors defense at Lincoln High.
Central Catholic (14-1) will defend its title in the Division IV state championship game next Friday against Bakersfield Christian at the StubHub Center in Carson.
"The turnovers were huge," McClymonds coach Michael Peters said. "You can't win like that. Our defense played well enough to win. We should have won the game. It was a tough loss."
The Warriors (10-3) lost standout junior running back LaVance Warren to a knee injury on their first drive. On his fifth straight carry, he suffered the injury when he fumbled after gaining 5 yards to the Raiders' 4-yard line. Central Catholic's Reggie Bland recovered.
The play foreshadowed the rest of the night for the Warriors, who had five total turnovers.
Peters, whose team also fell to Central Catholic in the 2012 NorCal final, said he wants to put the Raiders on the schedule again.
"We've got to go through them to get where we need to be," Peters said. "We'll be back."
In some late heroics, McClymonds waged a goal-line stand with 4:13 left in the fourth quarter, stopping Bland for no gain at the 1-yard line on fourth down. The big stop set up a 99-yard scoring march, in which Mack cut the deficit to three points. An electrifying 73-yard completion from Emoni Fountain to Louis White set up a 5-yard touchdown pass from Fountain to Lavon Washington with 1:00 remaining.
But Central Catholic was able to run out the clock after McClymonds kicked the ball out of bounds on the ensuing kickoff.
Fountain passed for 262 yards and ran for 78 in the intense battle. Marcel Jackson ran for 71.
McClymonds rallied late in the first half to cut the deficit to 10-8 on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Fountain to White and a two-point completion from Fountain to Jackson. On the touchdown pass, White got behind defensive back Timmy Gutierrez on the left and caught the ball at the 5-yard line before stepping into the end zone.
Fountain started things off on the drive with a 13-yard completion to White. One play later, he found Anthony White for 24 yards to the Raiders' 45. Fountain ran 6 yards to the 39 to set up the touchdown.
The Warriors defense did a solid job in the first half on Matt Ringer, who had 264 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the Raiders' 38-24 win over McClymonds on Sept. 13. They limited him to 50 yards in first half and 85 for the game as he battled an ankle injury.