It was a great opener. Despite Cinco de Mayo, the Coarsegold Rodeo, and the Kentucky Derby, the only home game of the Valley Stallions semipro football team’s 2018 season was a huge success.
With a higher-than-expected crowd count, good food and a good time for all that attended, the game was exciting, too. The Stallions held off the NorCal Stampede of San Francisco with a goal-line stand as time ran out to preserve a 20-14 win. The Stallions are now 3-2 overall.
“We felt this game was a huge success,” said Stallion’s co-owner Lorenzo Sanchez. “The crowd was great, a lot more than we expected with all that was going on. The response from the fans I spoke to was amazing. The fans were into it and the food was great.”
The Stallions have been in existence for three years and play their home games out of Clovis High. They are part of the 10-team West Coast Football Alliance, a California-based semipro league that plays in the spring. Players are not paid, but many plan to continue their football careers. For a few, the WCFA could be a springboard to college, Arena League or football in Europe.
The Stallions will move their home base to Oakhurst and play all their home games at Badger Stadium beginning in the 2019 season. Saturday night was a trial run, and from Sanchez’s point of view the Mountain Area fans more than passed the test. “We are very excited to move our team and our home games to Yosemite High next season,” Sanchez said. “We appreciate the support of the high school and this community. We plan on giving back, too. That is foundation to us.”
The Stallions plan on having football clinics and supporting both Minarets and YHS football programs. They will offer coaching assistance with the approval of the newly named YHS football coach. All proceeds from concessions go directly to sports programs at YHS.
The Stallions scored on their opening drive. Starting on their own 15, the Stallions moved methodically down the field and scored on a pass from quarterback RJ Remington to wide out Austin Barkley. The point-after was missed but the Stallions had a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Stampede tied it midway through the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass on a broken play. The 2-point conversion failed and it was 6-6 at halftime.
The Stampede took the lead in the third quarter on an 80-yard drive, scoring on a 6-yard pass play. NorCal scored on the 2-point conversion and was up 14-6 early in the third. The Stallions answered on a 35-yard run by running back Cody Styles. Remington connected with Anthony Worthy for the 2-point conversion and it was 14-14 at the end of the third.
The Stallions went ahead late in the fourth quarter. Remington hit wide receiver Vincent Johnson on a 52-yard touchdown pass. The 2-point conversion failed but with less than four minutes to play the Stallions held a 20-14 lead.
With time running out and no timeouts the Stampede went for a quarterback sneak from the 2-yard line of the Stallions. The Stallions’ middle linebacker attacked the gap and made the stop as time expired. The crowd at Badger Stadium, loud for most of the game, went crazy.
“It was an exciting finish to a great game and a good time was had by all,” Sanchez said. We can’t wait for the 2019 season and to be part of this community full-time. The Mountain Area sure loves football!”