For the second week in a row, the Yosemite High School Badger football team (0-2) scored on their first possession of the game -- It would be their only lead in the ballgame as the Hanford West Huskies (2-1) went on to defeat the mountain boys 61-21.
The Badgers kicked-off to start the game and Yosemite's Dillon Moran recovered the kick-off fumble at the Huskies' 31 yard line. On the next play Josiah Madison ran for an eight yard gain, the longest team rushing play of the young season. A holding penalty and two incompletions led to a 4th and 15 for the Badgers.
Sophomore quarterback Joey Woolsey than lobbed a ball down the right sideline and the 6-foot-3 Moran was able to run it down and carry two defenders with him into the end zone. Luke Blate kicked the PAT and the Badgers had a 7-0 lead.
The Huskies held on to the ensuing kickoff and marched down the field, scoring on a 14-yard quarterback keeper.
Yosemite's Jayson Lee, only a freshman, took the kickoff near the end zone and zigged his way to the Hanford West 41 yard line. The offense went nowhere in three plays and Madison boomed a punt to the two yard line where it was caught by a Huskie player who went left, then right and back to the left before he was dropped in the end zone by a group of Badgers.
The referees indicated forward progress had stopped at the two yard line but marched off a holding penalty against Hanford West, moving them back a yard to the one yard line. What looked like a tough position for the Huskies did not last long as on the very next play the Hanford West QB faked a handoff and then raced around the left side of the Badgers defense for 99-yard touchdown.
With the score 14-7 the Badgers offense stalled and the Huskies got the ball back, taking just three plays to score another touchdown on 9-yard pass, making the score 21-7.
Yosemite took the kickoff and moved the ball on two 11-yard gains, one a Madison run and the other a Woolsey to Lee pass. That drive was short circuited by a fumble and Hanford West had regained the ball as the first quarter ended.
On the first play of the second quarter, Lee intercepted a pass on the Badgers 40 and zig-zagged his way 60 yards for a Badger touchdown.
With the score 21-14, Hanford West took the ensuring kick-off and marched down the field and scored on a three-yard run, giving them a 28-14 lead.
On the ensuing possession, Woolsey hit Lee for a 9-yard gain. A holding penalty on the next play moved the Badgers back but a Blate reverse gained 14 yards. Woolsey found Madison two plays in row for gains of 26 and 15 yards.
After a five yard penalty on the next play, Woolsey hit senior Blate for a 9-yard pass play. Another pass over the top to Moran resulted in a touchdown and a 28-21 score.
The problem with Yosemite TDs, was the ball went back to the Huskies who were able to move the ball at will most of the game. Again, they moved the ball well for another TD and a 35-21 lead.
In the last minute of the half, the Badgers gave up the ball on downs but got it back on a Madison interception. A Woolsey to Drew Lassos pass moved the Badgers into Hanford West territory but they were unable to score before the half ended.
Only down two touchdowns, the Badgers took the second half kickoff and Woolsey quickly hit Lee for two receptions, the first for 37 yards and the second for 29.
A pass interference call on the Huskies moved the ball to the 21 with the Badgers showing some momentum. Woolsey then threw a ball up for grabs in the back of the end zone only to have a Huskie come down with the interception.
The next four possessions of the Badgers all resulted in turnovers with Hanford West eventually scoring on each resulting in the 61-21 final score.
The Badgers have faced a myriad of problems in the short season including field availability, roster depth, injuries and player ineligibility issues, but the team managed to dress 17 players for the Hanford West game.
Two of the team's better defenders did not dress for last week's game which was played on Thursday night due to a stadium conflict. While the offense has had moments, the defense has not forced its opponent to punt in two games. Both lines are inexperienced and giving up much size per player across the line.
The rushing game has still not established itself.
On the bright side, the Badgers have been able to move the ball at times and special teams have been effective.
After the road game this Friday against Roosevelt (0-3) at McClane Stadium, Yosemite gets four straight home games including non-league games against Mendota and Exeter and league games against Kerman and Liberty.
Roosevelt has lost to Atwater (52-6), Los Banos (47-2) and Chavez (29-28).
The league games should be competitive as the Badgers get into a routine and key players return to the lineup.
Score by quarters
Yosemite: 14 - 7 - 0 - 0 - Total: 21
Hanford West: 21 - 14 - 19 - 7 Total: 61
NSL team scores
Colinga 21 - Kerman (1-2) 3
Sierra (2-0) 31 - Fowler 23
Liberty (2-0) 38 - Madera South 0
Hilmar 41 Chowchilla (0-2) 14
Kingsburg 27 - Washing Union (0-2) 19