The Yosemite High Badgers (0-9, 0-4) were on the road last Friday in Easton to play a Washington Union (2-7, 2-2) team featuring running back Javin Harrison who ran for 3,337 yards and three touchdowns in a Panther 42-9 win.
Washington totaled 509 yards of offense and also benefited from four Badger turnovers which were turned into four Union touchdowns. Union has scored 40 plus points in three straight games.
Last year's California state D-III champions had a rough start this season going 0-7 to begin the year. The Panthers have rebounded with the running of Harrison and sophomore quarterback Landon Barberich directing the offense. As good as Washington is playing, it may be too little, too late. With their poor overall record, the Panthers will probably miss the playoffs.
The score won't show it, but Yosemite played a decent game. If the Panthers didn't have Harrison and weren't the recipient of four turnovers, this game could have been much closer. Yosemite did move the ball but squandered scoring opportunities.
Sophomore QB Joey Woolsey looked more confident and had a good command of the offense. The Badgers had new faces on offense and defense as well as key players out due to injury or academic suspensions. Overall, YHS suited up 19 players with four sophomores starting on defense. .
"I thought we played well except for the turnovers," said Badger head coach Kent Lincoln. "We shook things up and went with youth. We started four sophomores on defense and I think they responded well. Some of that is looking to the future. Joey looked sharp, but our receivers dropped too many passes. I think Brandon O'Brien (sophomore) had a good first start on varsity."
Defensively, Lincoln had some individual standouts.
"Since we moved Woolsey to defensive back, he has done a great job," Lincoln said. "They went after him and he made them pay."
Woolsey had an interception and five pass breakups.
Union set the tone by scoring on their third play from scrimmage. Barberich hit receiver William Blue on a 9-yard slant that Blue turned into a 70-yard touchdown sprint. With just 55 seconds gone in the game, Union was up 7-0.
After a surprising, but failed, Union on-side kick, Yosemite started their first drive in excellent field position at their own 42. Woolsey hit receiver Luke Blate, Brandon O'Brien and Timmy Jones on sharp passes. The drive stalled, but Blate hit a 22-yard field goal to make it 7-3 with 6:52 left in the first quarter.
After that, Yosemite got their first doses of Javin Harrison as the 5-foot-9, 205 pound junior had four quick carries for 40 yards. Barberich hit Greg Wilson on a 10-yard slant for a TD with 2:02 left in a wild first quarter.
Yosemite took over and was driving deep into Union territory behind great runs by O'Brien, but a fumble ended the threat. The Panthers took over, but were stopped by the Badger defense. It has been a rare event this season, but Union was forced to punt. The quarter ended with Washington Union up 14-3.
It was all Harrison and Union from there. The Panthers scored 28 unanswered points. Harrison scored on touchdown runs of 15, 65 and 42 yards. Along the way, the Badger defense forced two punts, but Union was relentless. Harrison shredded tacklers all night. His speed and power made him the best back Yosemite has faced this year.
Yosemite did put together a scoring drive to end the game. Woolsey hit Ryan Young for a two-yard touchdown pass with time running out. Young, playing in just his third game had a strong impact running and receiving. The two-point conversion failed and the Badgers left Easton with a 42-9 loss.
Union total yards: 509.
Yosemite total yards: 152.
Union rushing: Harrison 24-377-3 TDs; DeMelvin Stell 3-22.
Yosemite rushing: Ryan Young 4-13; O'Brien 5-6; Woolsey 10-7; Timmy Jones 1-2.
Union passing: Barberich 5-21-1-110, 2 TDs.
Yosemite passing: Woolsey 16-28-2-124, 1 TD.
Union receiving: Blue 2-84 1 TD; DeMelvin Stell 2-17; Greg Wilson 1-9 1 TD.
Yosemite receiving: Jones 5-21; O'Brien 4-51; Ryan Young 2-17 1TD; Moran 2-10; Blate 1-11.
31st Mountain Bowl - Sierra visits Yosemite Friday night
This should be fun. The 31st Annual Mountain Bowl takes place Friday on Raupp Field at Badger Stadium to end the 2012 NSL football season. Yosemite won last year's game 21-17 behind the arm of then freshman QB Woolsey who was 8-14 for 192 yards.
Yosemite leads the Mountain Bowl series 17-13.
The Badgers are trying to avoid only the second winless season in the school's 36-year history, the first being the year the school opened, 1976, when the team went 0-6 under head coach Eric Hansen.
The Sierra Chieftains (6-3, 2-2) bring a good team to Oakhurst under the direction of coach Rob Hastie. Sierra had solid wins against Fowler, Caruthers, Washington Union and Kerman.
Sierra averages 21 points per game. The strength of the Chieftains is their running game, averaging 182 yards rushing per game led by running back Gage McAdams. The 6-foot-1, 160 pound senior has rushed for 866 yards on 116 carries this season and has 13 TD's.
Running back Aaron Maldonado has rushed for 347 yards and three TDs.
Sierra has used two QB's this season: Casey Blunt and Clay Jones. Blunt started earlier, but the reins have passed to Jones. Jones was 11-23 for 102 yards and two picks against Chowchilla.
Yosemite will counter with their passing game. Woolsey looks to be more comfortable each game. He is averaging 170 yards passing per game and will be looking for receiver Moran who has had two games with more than 100 yards.
Freshman Jayson Lee, if healthy, Drew Lassos, Blate, Young and O'Brien give Woolsey solid options.
To have a chance, the Badgers have to run the ball against Sierra. They could manage only 20 yards on 28 carries against Union.
On defense, Yosemite must stop McAdams and the Chieftain ground attack to win their last game of the year.
Throw out the records. The Mountain Bowl rivalry is a game where anything can happen.
JV game 5 p.m., varsity, 7 p.m.
Last week's NSL game results
Washington Union 42, Yosemite 9
Chowchilla 33, Sierra 0
Liberty 28, Kerman 0.
Chowchilla-Liberty play for league title Friday night
The North Sequoia League championship will come down to the matchup between Chowchilla (7-2, 4-0) and Liberty (8-1, 3-1) Friday at Chowchilla. The Redskins have reeled off seven straight wins since losing to San Joaquin Section powerhouses Modesto Christian and Hilmar. No one has an answer to probable NSL MVP quarterback DeVaughn Gaines. Liberty has a shot only if they shut down Gaines.
Liberty is still ranked No. 1 in D-V in the Fresno Bee. Sierra is No. 3 in D-V.
YHS Booster Club seeks members
The newly formed Yosemite Football Booster Club will be encouraging family and business memberships at Fridays game to help with financial support of the YHS football program including video equipment, weight room equipment, annual football banquet, Badger merchandise and football equipment.
Badger JV head coach Pat Lynch is president of the club.
"We have big plans for this coming year and community support will greatly impact the quality of our program," Lynch said. "Join and become an active participant, ensuring that our Yosemite Badgers will have everything they need to achieve the success they deserve."
Membership levels run from $25 to $300.
Details: Pat Lynch, (559) 760-9048.
North Sequoia League