MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) — They do throw in a pass once in a while, but there are few schools in all of California who can run the ball better than Central Catholic High School.
“Our running backs, they run really hard and even when you feel like they are going down, they’re not going down, they’re going to get an extra six, seven yards,” Central Catholic quarterback Tyler Wentworth told FOX40. “And our lineman, they’re just amazing. They do a great job. They’re big, obviously, and they get in front of you and it’s tough to get around them.”
The Raiders are top ten in the state in rushing, according to Max Preps, racking up nearly 4,000 yards on the year.
Senior running back Aiden Taylor accounts for nearly half of that yardage and still manages to remain humble about his success this season.
“I’m not really a numbers guy. I kind of just like going out there playing, doing my thing and just having fun, I’m more just trying to help the team and the numbers happen to come with it but I’m just here for the team,” Taylor said.
It’s that elite ground game that helped earn the Raiders a state title berth in 2021. They’re set to face Mater Dei Catholic High School on Friday for the Division II-AA crown.
“Man, this is a big game. We haven’t been here in a little bit, in a few years, and it’s exciting as a team because we’re sort of young but also our seniors, we’re just a tight family,” Wentworth said.
Central Catholic was once a regular in the state tournament.
The Raiders won four straight titles from 2012 to 2015 under head coach Roger Canepa but they haven’t been back since.
“You know we won four in a row, and I thought, ‘We’ll be back soon.’ I appreciate it a lot more now. It’s been five, six years since we’ve been there. We’re excited,” Canepa told FOX40.
Canepa and the team aren’t the only ones enjoying this ride to the state title game, the school community is getting in on it as well. They’ll host a special sendoff for the team on Thursday morning as they head to Southern California, and they actually canceled school to make sure the seats at Saddleback College will be filled.
“I expect a big crowd to come down from Central Catholic. We have a great community, everyone is together. It’s a good family community and we all support each other,” Taylor said.