I remember not too long ago, the Yosemite High School football team were still playing in December. CIF playoffs were a standard seasonal event. Many things have changed. For most of the Badger faithful the Badger football season again ended too soon this season.
It was a difficult and challenging second season for head coach Kent Lincoln and staff. Lincoln is now 1-19 in his first two campaigns. This is not for lack of effort or ability. The staff and players worked hard.
Ultimately, Yosemite played high level competition, with fewer players, and committed too many mistakes. The schedule was tough. Most of the Badger's opponents are still in the playoffs. Calaveras is the No. 5 seed in the Sac-Joaquin D-IV playoffs. Roosevelt, Exeter, Kerman, Mendota, Union, and Liberty won or had byes in their first 2013 playoff contests. Mendota and Liberty were Central Section champions last year in D-VI and D-V respectively. Even Mariposa, the Badger's preseason scrimmage, is ranked No. 2 in Sac-Joaquin D-V.
Playoff caliber competition is one thing, but the Badgers also faced bigger schools and programs.
Yosemite enrollment is around 720. Other than Mendota (750 students) and Riverdale (660), the Badgers faced much larger schools. If you attended any games you know what I mean. In some contests, YHS fielded less than 20 players. If you looked across the field virtually every opponent had 40 to 50. Yosemite started the season with 24. Some quit, some got injured. It is all part of attrition that is football.
Badger players played virtually the whole game, playing both offense and defense. Adrenaline and conditioning get you through halftime, maybe the third quarter. By the fourth quarter, without subs, players are spent.
Few Central Section football programs have jumped more divisions that the Badgers. In the glory years, Yosemite was in D-III. Punished for their success, the Central Section moved the Badgers to D-II. Now YHS is in D-IV. Never mind Minarets drew many players away from Yosemite. Yosemite has a D-V school enrollment and should be in that division.
Finally, if you are a student and potential football player you can do something. If you want to play football in high school, go out. Play for your school and your friends, if nothing else. Lincoln and coach Eric Peterson have championship rings. Ultimately, they know it will take time to re-build the YHS program and they need more players to do that. Losses are tough and they are not fun. But playing football is.
Final Yosemite stats:
Points scored: 181 (18 per game average). Points allowed: 481 (48 per game average). Passing yards: 161 per game. Rushing yards: 99 per game.
Passing: Joey Woolsey 118/282 for 1,583 yards (161 per game average) 11 TDs/19 INT.
Woolsey is a talent and has a great arm, but he had 19 picks. His receivers also had a lot of drops this season.
Rushing: Jayson Lee 118/635 (5.3 per carry average), six TDs; Bobby Magee 60/230 (3.8 per carry average), three TDs; Cameron Monahan 12/87 (7.2 per carry average).
The Badger run game improved vs. last year. Lee came on strong, especially the last few games. Lee played hurt all year but gutted it out and had a fine season. With good health, Lee will own the Badger all-time rushing mark by the end of his senior season.
Receiving: Lee 32/388 four TDs; Cody Elam 29/374, four TDs; Drew Lassos 21/364, two TDs; Donavan Iverson 14/262, two two TDs; Monahan 10/111, one TD.
Lee, the Badger leader in all-purpose yardage (1,463) got most of his receiving yards out of the backfield. Lee, Elam, and Lassos were even on overall yardage. Lassos was the big play wide out averaging 17 yards per catch.
Special Teams: Total return yards: Elam 546; Lee 427; Kicking: PAT: Iverson 10/15.
Elam and Lee gave the Badgers good field position after positive kickoff yardage. A 70-yard punt return by Elam is a new school record breaking the 32-year- old mark of 65 set in 1981 by Tim Thomas.
Tackles: Monahan 42, one sack; Lee 38, two INT; Magee 29, two sacks; Meza 24, two sacks; Anthony Archer 22, one sack, two blocked kicks; Brandon O'Brien 19, two sacks, one fumble recovery; Jonathan Zohos 19.
Woolsey led YHS with three interceptions. Woolsey was very valuable on defense. His late game interception against Sierra in the last game of the season gave YHS a chance at a major upset.