Badgers lose 5th straight but look forward to 37th Mountain Bowl matchup against Sierra

Yosemite’s Tyson Mansfield tracks down Washington Union ballcarrier Darius McCray.
Yosemite’s Tyson Mansfield tracks down Washington Union ballcarrier Darius McCray. Special to the Sierra Star

The Yosemite Badgers’ fifth-straight football loss was also their worst of the 2018 season, 64-0 on the road to Washington Union on Oct. 19.

The young and injury-depleted Badgers (4-5, 0-4 North Sequoia League) have been outscored 211-49 in the NSL. YHS returned to the NSL in football after a two-year absence.

The Panthers (4-5, 1-2) jumped to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Union led 36-0 at the half and poured it on with 21 points in the third quarter, despite a running clock. The athletic Panthers limited YHS to just 218 yards total offense. The Badger running attack produced just 13 total yards.

Ricardo Valenzuela had three touchdowns to lead the Panthers. Darius McCray added two touchdowns, including a 75-yard punt return.

The offensive highlights were limited for the Badgers. Sophomore wideout Holden Eames had his second 100-yard plus receiving night with eight catches for 151 yards. Quarterback Tyson Mansfield was 17 of 30 for 205 yards but was intercepted four times as the Panthers defense made it a one-dimensional game by taking away the rushing attack.

The JV Badgers (2-7, 0-4) were defeated 30-0 by the Panthers (4-4, 1-2).

Mountain Bowl

Yosemite will close out its regular season at home Friday against Sierra in the 37th annual Mountain Bowl. It will be Senior Night for the Badgers. This is not the rivalry of old. The Badgers face perhaps the weakest Chieftains football team in history. Last year the Badgers defeated Sierra 44-10 at Tollhouse.

Sierra has always had a storied football program. Like the Badgers a few years ago, the Chieftains are in a downturn. It precipitated a Sierra withdrawal from the North Sequoia League in football. The Badgers also withdrew for two years from the NSL in football and enjoyed a bit of a football renaissance, but have found the return extremely challenging. Sierra hopes to reset its football program and achieve a turnaround similar to the Badgers.

A win should be a foregone conclusion for Yosemite. Last week, the Chieftains were routed 86-0 by Minarets. YHS defeated Minarets 38-10 earlier this season. It will be a chance for YHS backups to get some playing time.

Sierra and YHS are both depleted teams. Last week, Sierra fielded just 17 varsity and 14 junior varsity players. YHS also is struggling to field a full team. Yosemite is young and dealing with a lot of key injuries on both offense and defense. That was to be expected returning to the tough NSL.

The Badgers are No. 13 in the Central Section Division V rankings. Playing the Chieftains won’t help with strength of schedule but YHS should end up at 5-5 overall and land a probable playoff bid. It will certainly be a low D-V seeding which will mean a road game in a very loaded division.

North Sequoia League

Chowchilla (7-2, 3-0) will host Liberty (8-1, 3-0) for the North Sequoia League championship Friday. Last week, Liberty defeated Kerman 50-28. Chowchilla had a bye.