STOCKTON -- The bounces did not go the way of the McClymonds High football team in Friday's California Interscholastic Federation Division IV Northern regional championship game at Lincoln High.
Early mistakes piled on top of each other and helped Central Catholic-Modesto build a big early lead, and the Raiders cruised to a 42-12 victory.
"We're a young team, and tonight we played our age," McClymonds coach Curtis McCauley said.
Central Catholic (13-2) advances to the state championship game next Friday at 4 p.m. at the Home Depot Center in Carson against Santa Fe Christian.
Two potentially fortuitous early bounces did nothing to help McClymonds (9-4), which was serving as the Oakland Section's first representative in the six-year history of state football championships.
Mack's squibbed opening kickoff looked as though it would have its intended result when it bounced over several Central Catholic returners back inside the 20-yard line. But Rey Vega finally picked it up and worked his way through a scrum before breaking free down the left sideline. He got all the way to the Warriors' 5-yard line.
"It deflated us, it deflated me," McCauley said of the return. "The game went downhill from there."
After an offsides penalty on Mack, the Raiders' Ray Lomas IV plunged forward 3 yards for a touchdown just 28 seconds into the game.
The Warriors continued to look shellshocked when they got the ball, and a fumble gave
Two plays later, Vega went 8 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-0 with 10:19 left in the first quarter.
Mack was forced to punt, and this time Central Catholic waited four plays to score. Garrett Ardis hit Oregon-bound tight end Johnny Mundt for a 40-yard touchdown. The Raiders led 21-0 less than six minutes into the game.
The Warriors finally had something to cheer about when Emile Hope III intercepted Ardis. Mack moved into striking distance to score when quarterback Keith Williams hit Lavon Washington for a 44-yard play to reach the Central Catholic 5-yard line. But Williams was intercepted in the end zone by the Raiders' Nathan Loya to end the threat.
Lomas capped a drive with a 3-yard run, and Central Catholic took a 28-0 lead into halftime.
The Raiders quickly added to their lead in the third quarter. After forcing a Mack punt, Lomas rushed 49 yards for his third touchdown of the game and a 35-0 lead with 8:20 left in the period.
The Warriors avoided the shutout when Williams hit Yusef Sterling Lowe for a 17-yard touchdown with 9:26 to play. Mack added another score when speedy Lavon Washington caught a deep pass in stride from Williams and went 95 yards for a score.
The loss ends the Warriors season but didn't dampen their spirit.
"It was a great experience for me, my coaches and our players," McCauley said. "We can strive to get back here next year."
Follow Jimmy Durkin at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.