After three weeks on the road, the Yosemite Badgers (0-7, 0-3 NSL) faced a tough Chowchilla (6-2, 2-1) team Oct. 23 at home, losing 41-12.
Chowchilla, ranked No. 3 in D-IV by the Fresno Bee, is in the hunt for a North Sequoia League title, and some feel it’s one of the most athletic teams the Badgers will face this season.
The Redskins, behind senior running back Anthony Stewart, and seven other running backs, racked up 428 yards on the ground, while Yosemite could manage just 35.
Chowchilla dressed 45 players, including one sophomore, while Yosemite dressed 16, including nine sophomores.
Chowchilla scored five rushing touchdowns - four of them on the first play of its first four possessions. Stewart led CHS with 199 yards rushing, and three TDs. Ronnie Reyes added two more TDs.
“All of our athletes played hard until the end,” YHS coach JD Burnett said. “With nine sophomores, it is difficult to match the physical play of teams in the NSL. No matter, we don’t back down.”
Chowchilla jumped out to a 12-0 lead, with Danny Chavez scoring on a 21-yard TD run, and Stewart on an 85-yard sprint to the end zone. Both point after attempts were intercepted by Badger defensive back Austen Burgeno.
YHS responded with a scoring drive of their own. A 30-yard Johnny Varian kickoff return gave YHS good field position at the YHS 45.
Jesse De La Cruz made a 10-yard run, followed by a 15-yard hook-up from QB Tristan Eames to sophomore receiver Cass Moreno, putting the ball at the CHS 32.
A Chowchilla fumble recovery was negated by a personal foul penalty, and Yosemite took advantage of the break on the next play, with Eames connecting with his brother Cannon in the end zone. The point after kick was blocked, but Yosemite had closed the gap to 12-6.
On Chowchilla’s next possession, Reyes burst up the middle for a 74-yard TD. Stewart got his second TD on the next Chowchilla drive, after recovering a Yosemite fumble, scoring from five yards out. The score was 28-6 with 9:50 left in the first half.
Another Chowchilla drive was stopped when Badger Clayton Burke made a fumble recovery, but on the final possession of the first half Reyes scored on an 18-yard run increasing the Chowchilla lead to 35-6. This was after an 85-yard punt return by Stewart was called back on a holding call.
On the opening drive of the third quarter Stewart took it to the end zone from 53 yards out, giving Chowchilla a commanding 41-6 lead.
A De La Cruz 50-yard TD run was nullified by a holding penalty, and an Eames to Eames 50-yard pass play to the Redskin 20 was also called back due to a penalty.
New school record
Yosemite did have the final ‘historic’ highlight of the evening. Throwing out of the back of the end zone Tristan Eames connected with Moreno for a 99-yard pass and run TD. The TD pass broke the 18-year-old school record of 91 yards by receiver Trevor Eddie against Dinuba in 1997.
Moreno, besides being part of Badger football history, has scored a receiving touchdown in each of his last three games. He had his first 100-yard receiving night catching three passes for 119 yards.
Cannon Eames had four four catches for 26 yards and a touchdown.
“Cannon had a great catch,” Burnett said. “He also caught his sixth TD pass of the season which leads the team.”
Tristan Eames was 10 of 23 for 164 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. Statistically, it was one of Eames’ best performances as a varsity starter.
Homecoming Friday night
Yosemite faces another tough task for Friday’s Homecoming game against league-leading Washington Union (5-3, 3-0). The Panthers took out Liberty 37-20 last week in the Ranchos, and are in the driver’s seat for the NSL crown.
Union is peaking at the right time, winning five of its last six games. Union started out the season 3-3 losing to Memorial (10-7), Mission Oak (25-19 in five overtimes), and Kingsburg (35-17).
The Panthers have a balanced offense averaging 128 yards rushing and 125 passing per game.
Junior running back Noah Beukers leads Union with 423 yards rushing and three TDs, to go with his 27 pass completions for 266 yards and one TD as a back-up quarterback. Senior Ashanti Ross takes most of the snaps, and is 41 of 78 for 615 yards and eight touchdowns as well as four interceptions from his defensive back position.
Senior receiver Carlos Silva has caught 25 passes for 316 yards and four TDs.
The YHS 2015 Homecoming Queen will be crowned at halftime.
JV kick-off is 5 p.m. - Varsity 7 p.m.