Harper scores 5 TDs as Badgers improve to 2-0. Next: Minarets, coming off a bye

Sophomore Holden Eames returns an interception for a touchdown – one of two he had against Parlier.
Sophomore Holden Eames returns an interception for a touchdown – one of two he had against Parlier. Special to the Sierra Star

Yosemite High (2-0, 0-0) led from start to finish defeating the Parlier Panthers 52-34 on Aug. 24 in their home opener. Despite the score, it wasn’t a runaway. Parlier (0-2, 0-0) stayed in striking distance with their passing game. In the end, the Badgers pounded it out on the ground with running back Nicholas Harper scoring five touchdowns, totaling 32 points and rushing for 197 yards.

On defense, sophomore cornerback Holden Eames had three interceptions returning two for touchdowns.

“We had a big night rushing and that was due to our offensive line playing relentlessly all game,” YHS coach Chance Sigala said. “Overall, we had a good game. Parlier played tough, though. They fought us to the end. This was a good test for our team moving forward. We still need to work on our penalties. Too many penalties hurt our scoring chances. We will be looking to improve on that.”

YHS jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Harper scored first on a 2-yard touchdown run. Later in the first Eames picked off a pass from Panthers quarterback James Rodriguez and raced 40-yards for the score. Parlier moved the ball through the air into YHS territory but penalties killed Panther drives. It was 14-0 at the end of one.

Rodriguez was effective with quick throws to the outside. The Panthers were shut down in the run game early but had success in the air with Rodriguez connecting with wide receiver Ivan Sanchez. The Panthers scored on a 2-yard run closing the gap to 14-6 YHS. It was as close as the Panthers would get.

10 and 7 tackling
Tyson Mansfield, left, and Ernie Jimenez team up to bring down a Parlier receiver. Linnea Special to the Sierra Star

The Badgers exploded in the second quarter scoring 18 unanswered points. Harper went to work behind solid blocking from the Badger offensive line. Harper scored on touchdown runs of 5 and 65 yards. Eames got his second pick and returned it 45 yards for his second touchdown. Just like that YHS blew open a close contest. Rodriguez connected with Sanchez on a 53-yard touchdown pass at the end of the second quarter. The Badgers went into halftime up 32-13.

Parlier continued to battle through the air in the third quarter. The Panthers scored on a 15-yard pass from Rodriguez to Sanchez and later on a 6-yard run. The Panthers were now in striking distance. After a Mansfield 1-yard score the Badgers held a 38-26 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Badgers sustained long drives in the fourth however with Harper scoring twice to seal the win.

YHS stats

The Badgers pounded out 265 yards on the ground. Harper ran for his second straight 100-yard-plus game. Harper’s 32 points is second all-time at YHS for points scored in a game. Harper scored touchdowns on three straight plays in the second half. He also scored on a two-point conversion. Kyler Schaeffer had seven carries for 51 yards.

With injuries to receivers Paul Antonis and Steven Baker, Eames was the top target catching six passes for 57 yards. Antonis caught 2 passes for 57 yards before his injury in the third quarter.

Quarterback Tyson Mansfield was an efficient 9 of 16 for 109 yards but had two interceptions, one on a tip.

The Badger defense allowed 34 points after shutting out Riverdale last week. The Panthers had no ground game as YHS controlled the line of scrimmage. But Rodriguez was effective keeping the YHS secondary busy.

Minarets hosts Yosemite

The Mustangs of Minarets are next. Yosemite travels to O’Neals Friday night Aug. 31. (Game times: JV at 5 p.m. and Varsity at 7 p.m.) It is the first of a number of rivalry games this season for both Minarets and YHS. The game will be the biggest test for both teams in this early season.

Yosemite coach Chance Sigala gets excited on the sidelines during the game against Parlier. Linnea Special to the Sierra Star

This is a young rivalry. What makes it special is most players grew up playing with or against each other in youth football. Many players are good friends.

“I know this game is special to players, fans, and the community,” Minarets coach Becher Marr said. “Rivalry games are great. For us, we treat each game the same. We will have a good two weeks to prepare. It will be a fun game to watch for sure, just like last year.” Minarets is coming off a bye week.

Yosemite defeated Minarets 27-14 last year at YHS. The Badgers went 9-0 in the regular season in 2017.

The Mustangs lost their home opener 15-13 against Mariposa. Even though the Mustangs had five turnovers and 10 penalties they were in a position to win on their final drive.

Minarets and YHS have similar weapons. Both can move the ball well running or passing. Minarets has a strong run game featuring Tyson Ellis who had 118 yards rushing against Mariposa. The Mustangs feature receivers Preston Conti (1,050 receiving yards and 11 TDs in 2017) and Zach Redman. Conti, a West Coast Top 20 Receiver, was double- and triple-teamed against Mariposa. Redman stepped up and had a solid game with 84 yards and a touchdown.

Both lines are big and strong. Both teams will lay the wood on defense. That’s what happens in rivalries.

At quarterback it will be first-year varsity starter Marty Urroz of Minarets against the experienced Tyson Mansfield of YHS. Urroz is talented, has a good arm, and is capable on his feet. He has a very athletic receiving corps. Ellis can be a big threat out of the backfield.

Mansfield led YHS to the playoffs last season engineering three game-winning drives along the way. Mansfield has command of the Badger offense and makes few mistakes. It could be the difference.

Badgers JV beats Parlier

There was only one touchdown scored in the JV game between YHS and Parlier. It was a 1-yard run by Garrett McMechan in the second quarter. In a defensive battle, YHS (1-1, 0-0) prevailed 7-0 over Parlier (0-2, 0-0).

McMechan led YHS with 85 yards rushing. Yosmar Wellborn led YHS with three receptions for 40 yards. Quarterback Rodney Von Wagner was nearly perfect completing 4 of 5 passes for 61 yards. He also rushed for 24 yards.