The Yosemite High Badger football team (0-10, 0-5) broke out of an offensive slump to score 27 first half points against Sierra (7-3, 3-2) in the 31st Annual Mountain Bowl but the scoring came to a halt in the second half as the team fell to the Chieftains 56-27.
Yosemite, winless on the season, holds a 17-14 advantage over Sierra since the inception of the Mountain Bowl.
Yosemite fans saw a glimpse of the future with sophomore QB Joey Woolsey having his best night of the season. Woolsey was 23-40 for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Dillon Moran had his best receiving night on Senior Night, catching seven passes for 165 yards (24 yards per catch average) and three TDs.
Woolsey finished the regular season ranked No. 6 in the Central Section by Max Preps with 1,810 passing yards on 149 of 310 (52%) and 15 TDs.
Moran was ranked No. 10 in the section with 709 receiving yards on 37 receptions for seven TDs.
With the win, Sierra earned a D-V No. 5 seed and a first round bye in the Central Section playoffs.
The Chieftains were led by senior running back Gage McAdams who rushed 22 times for 247 yards and scored three TDs, Sierra also scored via the air with QB Clay Jones completing 4-6 passes for 131 yards and three TDs. Sierra outscored Yosemite 28-0 in the second half.
The loss and the season have not dampened the spirits of the players and head coach Kent Lincoln.
"It was a heck of a game," said Lincoln. "We had a tremendous first half. The crowd was really with us. We just couldn't muster any points in the second half. Again, it is about consistency. We couldn't stop the run and didn't keep up the scoring pace."
Sierra scored quickly with a Mikey Waters 14 yard TD score around left end on the fourth play after the kick-off.
Yosemite in turn, scored on its third play of their opening drive with Woolsey hitting Moran down the sideline and Moran breaking free and outrunning his defender for a 73-yard touchdown.
It was now McAdams turn as he carried the ball five times for 40 yards scoring an 11-yard TD. It was a methodical eight-play, 70 yard drive. McAdams then scored on a 35-yard blast to the end zone on the Chieftains next possession. This was set up on a fake punt executed by Casey Blunt, giving Sierra a 21-7 lead.
After a strong Drew Lassos kickoff return the Badgers were set up at their 39. Woolsey ran the offense nicely combining runs and passing to Luke Blate and Moran. Woolsey then hit Lassos for a 33-yard touchdown. It was Lassos' first TD of the year. A Blate PAT made it 21-14 Sierra with 5:20 left in the second quarter.
Yosemite needed a stop. They got one when they forced a punt by Sierra with time running out before half. A Sierra penalty nullified a 68-yard TD run by McAdams and then Woolsey and the receivers went to work.
Starting on the YHS 29, Woolsey hit Timmy Jones and Brandon O'Brien for key gains. Then Woolsey aired it out beautifully to Moran down the right side line who made the catch, straight-armed a defender and trotted into the end zone. It was a great 57-yard pass play that tied the score at 21-21 and ignited the Badger faithful. .
There was still three minutes until half when McAdams carried the ball 50-yards to the end zone on the Chieftains next play from scrimmage. Sierra now led 28-21 with 1:59 to play. McAdams had nearly 200 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
The Badger offense went into the two-minute offense. Starting from their 40, Woolsey hit O'Brien on a 21-yard pass to get a first down. Woolsey then connected with Blate on a slant to the Sierra 20. A Chieftain holding call put the ball at their 10.
Woolsey threw a fade pattern to Moran and he out-jumped his defender, something he did well all season, and snared the ball for the six points. The PAT failed, but Yosemite went into the locker at half time down just one point, 28-27.
For many who have witnessed the Mountain Bowl, without a doubt the first half of this game was one of the best.
Badgers held scoreless in second half
Sierra went to the air in the second half behind the passing of QB Clay Jones. Jones hit Tyler DeWitt for a 58-yard touchdown. Jones then hit Cody Skaggs for an 18-yard TD.
Sierra tightened up the pass coverage and blitzed a lot in the second half. By the end of the third quarter it was 42-27 Sierra.
Jones hit Brent Smith for a 33-yard touchdown and linebacker Justin Harper had a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown. It was Woolsey's second pick of the night.
In addition to Woolsey and Moran, O'Brien also had a good night.
"Brandon caught passes over the middle, which is never easy," Lincoln said. "He had close to 100 yards in receiving the last two games and most of those were difficult catches."
On defense, Timmy Jones and Lassos each had nine tackles (eight solo). Defensive lineman Bobby McGee and defensive back Blate had eight and sic tackles respectively.
Sierra's JV team beat the Badgers 52-0.
Yosemite celebrated the seniors on the team as well as senior cheer and pep team members. It was an impressive ceremony choreographed by cheer coach Jennifer Lincoln. The following senior players and cheerleaders were honored last Friday.
Players: Luke Blate ; Zack Harrell ; Derek Jenkins ; Timmy Jones ; Chris Kanaley ; Dillon Moran ; Black Hawk Sauceda; Cameron Simonsen. .
Cheer/Pep: Taylor Brosi-cheer; Kylie Johnson-cheer; Morgan Mearse-cheer; Delaney Mitchell-pep; Daphne Norman-pep; Whitney Rounsivill-pep; Taylor Steinhauer-cheer.
The Badger football banquet will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3 at the Yosemite High School Gym.
Sierra total yards: 533. Yosemite total yards: 413.
Sierra rushing: McAdams 22-247-3 TDs; Aaron Maldonado 8-55; Tyler DeWitt 2-54; Waters 4-46; Jones 1-0. Total Sierra rushing: 402.
Yosemite rushing: Woolsey 15-30; Jones 1-6. Total YHS rushing: 36.
Sierra passing: Clay Jones 4-6-131, 3 TDs.
Yosemite passing: Joey Woolsey 23-40-2-348, 3 TDs; Jones 1-1-29. Total YHS passing: 377.
Sierra receiving: DeWitt 1-58 1 TD; Brent Smith 1-33 1 TD; McAdams 1-22; Skaggs 1-18 1 TD.
Yosemite receiving: Moran 7-165-3 TDs; Blate 7-86; O'Brien 5-45; Lassos 4-69 1 TD; Jones 1-12.
Sierra defensive: (Tackles total/solo)
Kyle Barcus 8/0; Justin Harper 7/5 1 INT; DeWitt 6/4; McAdams 5/3; Waters 5/4.
Yosemite defensive: (Tackles total/solo) Jones 9/8; Lassos 9/8; McGee 8/0; Blate 6/0.
Seniors Moran and Blate had huge nights. Moran grabbed seven catches for a season high 165 yards and three touchdowns. Blate had seven catches for 86 yards. Blate was clutch all year. Lassos proved worthy of being a prime target for Woolsey next season. Lassos had four catches and his first touchdown grab of the year.
Score by quarters
NSL scores from Nov. 2
Liberty 20, Chowchilla 14; Washington Union 45, Kerman 14; Sierra 56, Yosemite 27.
The Liberty Hawks overcame a 14-0 deficit scoring 20 straight points to tie Chowchilla for the NSL title. The victory earns Liberty the No. 1 seed in the Central Section D-V playoffs.
Washington Union beat Kerman 45-14. Javin Harrison rushed for 324 yards and four TDs. Harrison had 661 yards and seven TDs in the last two games. The Panthers scored 40 plus points in four straight games. Union will move on to the D-III playoffs.
NSL final standings