The varsity Badgers went on the road last week for the first of a brutal four-game road trip, losing to the Mendota Aztecs 53-14.
The Division V Aztecs of Mendota are a perennial small school Central Section CIF power, going 43-11 since 2010, including 2 section titles. YHS was coming off their best performance of the 2015 campaign, nearly upsetting Roosevelt last week in Badger Stadium.The Badgers drew first blood but the Aztecs took control, scoring 41 unanswered points on the way to a dominant win.
The loss puts YHS at 0-3 for the year. Mendota moves to 2-2 for 2015.
“We started the game strong, had the lead after the first quarter, but lost our momentum after the second quarter,” head coach JD Burnett said. “We had some injuries and it forced us to move guys around on defense. After that we were not able to keep them from running up the score.”
Despite Aztec lore, the Badgers were not intimidated. YHS came out firing.
On their first possession, starting on their 38, junior quarterback Tristan Eames went to the air, hitting Alex Burgeno for 10 yards. Eames then connected with Cass Moreno for 30 yards to the Mendota 15. Eames then fired a strike to Burgeno for a 15-yard touchdown, scoring in just five plays. Tanner Meeks kicked the point after with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.
Mendota returned a short Meeks kickoff to the YHS 40. Operating out of a full house backfield, the Aztecs went to their vaunted ground game, scoring in six in six plays utilizing four different running backs. The point after failed and Yosemite led 7-6.
Later in the first, Badger Dylan Rounsivill returned an Aztec punt 15 yards to the YHS 48. Behind solid running by Badger sophomore Jesse De La Cruz and a pass interference call on Mendota, the Badgers moved to the Aztec 23. An Eames sack moved YHS back to the 35. De La Cruz ran 15 yards on a draw to the 19. As the first quarter ended YHS lined up for a 23-yard field goal ... Eames passed on a fake and failed to get the first down as the quarter ended with YHS up 7-6.
To start the second quarter, Mendota took over at its 14. The Badger defense held for the second straight possession. A Hunter Fisk sack helped forced a fourth down.
It was Mendota’s turn for deception. when on a fourth and 12, Mendota’s punter faked the punt, threw down field and connected with Alfredo Ramirez for 35 yards down to the YHS 32. Four plays later, aided by a face mask penalty, Ramirez would score on a five-yard run. The drive consumed nearly seven minutes. With 6:18 to go in the half, the Aztecs were up 14-7.
The next two Badger drives stalled, but the Badger defense fought on. Midway through the second quarter cornerback Cannon Eames had an athletic pick of a pass from Aztec QB Junior Cardenas.
Just before halftime Mendota began a drive from 37, and the Aztecs moved methodically with Cardenas completing seven straight passes culminating with a 9-yard TD pass to Marquez Navarro. The point after was good and Mendota went into halftime with a comfortable 21-7 lead.
Second half Aztec assault
Mendota took another Badger kickoff at the 50, and moved down field at will. With a 36-yard run Navarro took it to the two-yard line. After a 5-yard offside penalty, Navarro took scored on a sweep, putting Mendota up 28-7. Mendota scored on their next four possessions en route to 41 unanswered points. Mendota was up 35-7 at the end of the third quarter.
The Badgers mounted a drive from the 50. Running by De La Cruz and passes from Eames to brother Cannon moved the ball. De La Cruz ended the Badger scoring drought taking it in from the 11.
With the game well in hand, Cardenas launched a 58-yard bomb to Fabian Jasso and the Aztecs were up 47-14. Mendota would score one more with 1:42 left.
Mendota spread the wealth with seven players scoring, and 10 running backs accumalating 280 yards. Cardenas was 14-19, 212 yards, and three TDs.
For YHS, Jesse De La Cruz rushed 17 times for 88 yards and one TD. He is averaging close to 80 yards per game.
QB Eames was a respectable 12-24 for 102 yards and one TD pass. Eames had little time to set for throws and was forced to scramble most of the game.
Aztecs win JV game 38-6
The Aztec JV defeated YHS (0-3) 38-6. It was 32-0 Aztecs at end of the third quarter. The outmanned JV Badgers held their own in the second half limiting the Aztecs to 12 points. The JV Aztecs suited up 40 players vs. 19 for YHS.
Yosemite put together a long drive early in the fourth quarter. Running back Dylan Micallef had runs of 15 and 18 yards, helping YHS move the ball down to the Mendota four, but the drive stalled.
YHS would score on a 64-yard pass play from QB Tyler Matyshock to receiver Chris Riccardi at the end of the game. Matyshock hit Riccardi on the left flat. After a near interception, Riccardi raced down the sidelines and dove for the pylon to score as time ran out.
Sierra Pacific Friday
Yosemite travels to Hanford Friday to play the Golden Bears of Sierra Pacific (3-1), coached by Josh Kloster. Members of the East Sequoia League, the Bears were 8-5 overall, 3-2 in league play last season, including a 48-0 win over the Badgers.
The team went to the D-VI playoffs defeating Frazier Mountain in the first round, before losing to runner up Avenal 13-0. Avenal defeated Sierra Pacific earlier this season.
“They are big and physical,” Burnett said. “They went deep into the D-VI playoffs and have destroyed several opponents this season. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
Sierra Pacific is a primarily run oriented team, but has had a balanced offense in 2015. Overall, the Bears have run for 384 yards and thrown for 364. They are led by senior quarterback Matt Leslie. Leslie is 27 of 54 for 364 yards, and has thrown for eight touchdowns with only three picks.
Junior running back Deareon Willis leads the Bears running attack. To date, Willis has 303 yards on 33 carries with three touchdowns. Senior running back Kenneth Littlejohn has 151 yards on 33 carries.
Kickoff for the JV game is 5 p.m. - varsity 7 p.m.