Yosemite and Sierra looking for first win

Yosemite (0-8, 0-4 North Sequoia League) and Sierra (1-8, 0-4 NSL) high schools have a lot in common. Both schools have been experiencing dwindling enrollments in recent years, as both varsity football teams have been suiting up less than 20 players this season.

Both teams enter Friday’s 34th Annual Mountain Bowl in Tollhouse winless in league play this season.

The Badgers lead the Mountain Bowl series 17-16. Sierra won last year’s game on Raupp Field 48-18.

There’s an old saying in Badger Country: If you only have one win in the season and that win is over Sierra, you have had a good season.

Despite the disappointing seasons, both teams have had Friday’s game circled on the calendar since their first game.

“Sierra is our bowl game,” Badger Coach JD Burnett said. “We are excited to get an opportunity to end the season on a positive note.”

Sierra’s lone victory this year was a 15-12 win at home against a winless Parlier D-VI squad, which has scored only 60 points all season.

YHS has played another brutal schedule. The overall record of Badger opponents this year is 43-28 with only one opponent, Roosevelt (1-8), having a losing record. Remove the Roughriders and the average W-L for 2015 Badger opponents are is 6-3. Yosemite is looking to break its 26-game losing streak dating back to the 40-16 win vs. Riverdale on Sept. 12, 2013.

Sierra is the last game of the season, but a winnable one. The Chieftain 2015 schedule, and scores in losses, virtually mirrors that of YHS. One of Sierra’s losses was a 26-0 loss to Minarets on Sept 4. Despite this year’s record, the sophomore-laden Badgers are in a position to go out this season on a positive note and break the losing streak.

Sierra has a balanced offense with 966 yards rushing and 804 passing. Another sophomore quarterback named Tristan, this one last-named Wilson, leads the Chieftains. Wilson is 43-75 for 502 yards with two TDs and seven interceptions.

Junior running back Dakota Torres leads the Sierra running attack with 414 yards on 70 carries. Torres has scored four TDs. Senior receiver Jake Figgs leads Sierra with 22 catches for 432 yards and four TDs.

Tollhouse is never an easy road trip for Yosemite, and the team will need the support of the Badger faithful to get the much-needed win. On the field it will be up to the Yosemite sophomores and juniors to get the seniors a win and break the streak.

The JV game is at 5 p.m. - Varsity 7 p.m.

Panthers shut-out Badgers on homecoming

It was a beautiful fall night for the Badger homecoming and final home game in Oakhurst Oct. 30. With a crowd of about 500 honoring graduating seniors, the Badger expected the energy to transfer to the football field. Unfortunately it didn’t.

Washington Union (6-3, 4-0 NSL) of Easton went home with a 49-0 win. The Panthers had the game well in hand by halftime, 36-0.

The Badgers caught a red-hot Panther team since a five-overtime loss to D-V power Mission Oak. Union is now 6-1 in their last seven games and undefeated in the NSL.

Union did it on the ground and the air. Senior running back Adam Martinez led Union with three touchdowns. The Panther defense limited Yosemite to 117 yards of offense.

“Our Homecoming crowd really made it a special atmosphere,” Burnett said. “Unfortunately we were unable to match the speed and physicality of Washington Union.”

The Panthers got it going early. Starting at the Badger 48, Panther quarterback Ashanti Ross threw to Carlos Silva for 30 yards to the Badger 11. Three plays later, Martinez scored his first touchdown with 5:23 in first quarter. Ross kept it in the air on the Panthers’ next possession, hitting running back Noah Beukers with a 36-yard pass to the 23. Martinez would score on a two-yard run just as the first quarter ended.

Early in the second quarter, Beukers scored from the two yards out, and on the next Panther possession Martinez rambled 25 yards to the 50 and then Ross connected on a 25-yard pass to Silva for a touchdown.

The Panther offense was an unstoppable mix of run and pass. On Union’s final drive of the half, Ross went long to receiver Johnny Rodriguez for 60 yards. Martinez would score his third touchdown from five yards out. The Panthers went into the locker room at halftime up 35-0.

Union would score two more touchdowns in the second half.

Panther senior quarterback Ross was 7-9 passing for 191 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. A total of seven Panthers carried the ball for 141 yards.

Johnny Rodriguez, one of the top kickers in the Central Section, booted 7 of 7 point after kicks. Rodriguez was a major weapon on special teams. Rodriguez gave the Panthers great field position, not allowing a Badger kickoff return, eight in total, the entire game.

The Union defense completely shut down the YHS offense. Quarterback Tristan Eames was under duress most of the night. Eames was 10-20 for 50 yards and one interception. Cass Moreno caught two passes for 35 yards to lead the Badger receivers. Badger running back Jesse De La Cruz rushed 14 times for 60 yards.

Union also won the JV game 28-12.

Four Badger seniors were honored on senior night: Linebacker and running back Hunter Fisk has been a valuable contributor on defense and special teams. Tanner Meeks did it all for YHS as a running back, linebacker and all kicking duties. Wide receiver and defensive back Dylan Rounsivill, one of the most versatile and fastest players on the Badgers, contributed both on offense and defense. Linebacker Armando Villanueva, a transfer from San Diego and first year Badger player suited up for defense and special teams, and filled in at times at running back.

Senior cheerleaders and senior members of the marching band, including drum major Megan Montalto, were also honored.

On Friday, Union hosts Kerman (5-3, 3-1) with the NSL title on the line. A Panther loss would throw the NSL into a three-way tie provided Chowchilla (7-2, 3-1 NSL) defeats Liberty-Madera Ranchos. Liberty (6-3, 2-2) will not win an NSL title for the first time in three years should they lose to Chowchilla.