The Yosemite High Badgers have lost out on two of the first three football games of the season due to unhealthy air from the Railroad Fire. That, along with losing two weeks of practice due to the smoke, may provide its game against Mariposa Friday one of the more difficult tests of the season.
“We will prepare like a normal week,” Badger head coach JD Burnett said. “I’m not changing our practice routine but we practiced hard on Monday. We are still concerned about the air quality and will take direction on practicing from our administration.”
Mariposa (1-1) is coming off a 35-14 win over Minarets last Friday at Mariposa. It was a hard-hitting game as the Grizzlies pulled away from the Mustangs in the second half.
Mariposa comes to Oakhurst seeking revenge from last year’s 51-38 loss to the Badgers, where YHS rushed for more than 500 yards.
“We know Mariposa is a physical football team,” Burnett said. “They have a strong line and weapons on offense. It is definitely going to be a good game and a challenge for us. We are looking forward to playing again.”
Mariposa, coached by Ryan Oliphant, is coming off a 4-6 season in 2016. Overall, Oliphant is 26-19 with three-straight playoff appearances from 2013-2015.
The Grizzlies play in the Southern League of the Sac-Joaquin Section. Although a D-V school, Mariposa has put two players in the NFL; Logan Mankins (New England Patriots/Tampa Bay Buccaneers), and Cory Wichmann, currently with the Los Angeles Rams.
The Grizzlies have a balanced offense averaging 199 yards passing and 183 yards rushing per game. They are led by junior quarterback Colton Weidner, who is coming off a 2016 season where he was 131 of 283 for 1,683 yards and 11 touchdowns along with 14 picks. Weidner is a threat to run, having rushed for 335 yards last season.
Weidner is 30 of 59 for 379 yards with 4 touchdowns and 4 picks this season. He leads Mariposa with 205 yards rushing.
Junior Leo Kari is Weidner’s favorite target with 11 receptions and 179 yards this season. He scored 2 TDs against Minarets last week.
Sophomore Logan Donati is a threat running, receiving, and in the return game. Against Mariposa Donati led Mariposa with 160 all-purpose yards.
Game times are 5:30 p.m. for JV and 7:30 p.m. for varsity.