The Sierra High Chieftains (2-8, 1-4 NSL) saved the best for last Nov. 6, scoring a season high 49 points led by three Tim Lee touchdowns to defeat Yosemite High (0-9, 0-5) 49-33.
The game was the 34th edition of the Mountain Bowl, and Sierra’s win ties the series at 17-17. The Badger’s loss (27th straight for the program) ends a tough season for the Badgers. The last Badger win came on Sept. 13, 2013 - a 40-16 win over Riverdale.
The Mountain Bowl brought out the best in Sierra. The Chieftains had a total of 607 yards on offense (331 rushing - 276 passing), and five different players scored. It was the highest offensive output of the season for Sierra. Sierra scored more points Friday than their last five games combined.
The game looked promising on the Badgers’ first possession. Starting at their 31, quarterback Tristan Eames hit Cass Moreno with a 12-yard completion, and after a 14-yard run by Jesse De La Cruz, Eames floated a pass to brother Cannon, who out-jumped the Sierra defender to grab the ball and run into end zone. It was a 42-yard play. Cannon booted the point after and the Badger’s had a quick 7-0 lead.
Sierra came right back behind running back Shane Maldonado, who gained 20 yards on his first carry. Two plays later Maldonado broke left and sprinted 46 yards to the end zone. He
would make life miserable for the Badger defense all night. He finished the night with 257 yards on 22 carries.
On the Badgers’ next possession De La Cruz, a sophomore, broke a 27-yard run to the YHS 47. Two plays later, De La Cruz broke up the middle and outraced Sierra defenders for a 56-yard TD run. Sierra blocked the point after, leaving YHS with a 13-7 lead.
Starting at the Sierra 48 after the kickoff, Maldonado ran 21 yards to the YHS 34, and then Lee ran 34 yards for a TD on the next play. Chad Fisher booted the point after and Sierra now led 14-13, with 7:58 left in the first quarter.
On its next possession, the Chieftains Started at the 50 aided by a personal foul call on Yosemite during the kickoff. Sierra drove to the YHS 29, but were stopped when Badger defensive back Austen Burgeno recovered a Maldonado fumble.
Starting at their own 22, Sierra QB Tristan Wilson hit wide out Isaiah Lee for a 76-yard TD, giving Sierra a 21-13 lead after the wild first quarter.
A shanked Sierra punt early in the second quarter gave YHS great field position on the Sierra 31. Tristan Eames then took a keeper to the right for the TD. The two-point conversion failed but YHS narrowed the Sierra lead to 21-19.
Burgeno intercepted a Wilson pass but the Badger offense couldn’t move the ball, and soon after Sierra put together a seven-play drive culminating with a 46-yard TD reception by Lee. The point after failed and it was 27-19 Sierra. Sierra threatened again on their next possession but a pick by Cannon Eames ended the threat at the Badger 12.
The Badger offense stalled again. Badger punter Tanner Meeks punting ‘rugby style’ pinned Sierra deep. Meeks had three punts averaging 55 yards in the first half. Meeks was the best weapon the Badgers had on defense. An exciting first half ended with the Chieftains up 27-19.
Sierra, behind Maldonado running and aided by a Badger personal foul, would score on a six-play 65-yard drive with Jake Figgs scoring on a five yard run. It was now 34-19 Chieftains.
The Badger offense moved to the Sierra 20 on their next possession after a De La Cruz 44-yard run. An ‘Eames to Eames’ TD pass was nullified by a chop block penalty, and the drive ended.
Early in the fourth quarter Sierra’s Wilson, on a fourth and 15, threw a fade 28 yards into the end zone to Figgs. Sierra scored again on their next drive on a one-yard run by Aaron Buck to make it 49-19.
Tristan Eames then put together two scoring drives. After connecting with Cannon on a 41-yard pass play, Tristan connected with Moreno on a 24-yard TD pass. Later in the quarter, Tristan connected with Cannon on an acrobatic 37-yard touchdown reception.
Best offensive output of the season
The Badgers had their strongest offensive output of the year. Tristan Eames was nine of 26 for 192 yards with no interceptions. He threw for two TDs and ran for another in perhaps his strongest performance as a Badger starting quarterback.
Cannon Eames also had his best night as a varsity starter, with his second 100-yard receiving night. He had four catches for 127 yards and two TDs. Moreno had three catches for 44 yards.
De La Cruz finished the season strong, rushing 19 times for 186 yards and a TD. It was his fourth game above 100 yards.
Sierra’s Wilson was 15-20 for 276 yards, two TDs, and two interceptions, while Figgs caught seven passes for 108 yards and a TD. Figgs also had a rushing touchdown. Lee scored twice, and rushed for 59 yards, and caught nine passes for 65 yards.
“Our kids played their hearts out,” YHS Coach JD Burnett said. “It was our best offensive production in a league game since 2011. The touchdown called back in the third quarter took away our chance to regain momentum.”
Burnett said Tristan Eames had the best game of his life, throwing two touchdown passes and running for a 31-yard score.
The Badger football banquet, including the Yosemite youth teams, is scheduled for Dec. 6.
Badger JV team wins 28-27
In easily the most exciting game of the season, JV or varsity, the Badgers (1-8, 1-4 NSL) got their first win of the year on a Hail Mary throw from freshman quarterback Tyler Matyshock to Paul Antonis.
Sierra’s Cody Hall blocked a Badger punt and recovered at the Badger 15. The Chieftains were back deep in Badger territory. Sierra’s John DeLeon would score from the 11. The point after was missed but the Chieftains were up 19-12 early in the fourth quarter.
YHS would answer. On a fourth and two from the YHS 37, Matyshock ran left broke two tackles and scored. The Badgers went for two, with Dylan De La Cruz running up the middle for the two point conversion. YHS now led 20-19.
Sierra took over at the Chieftain 40 with six minutes to play. Sierra moved into Badger territory with the clock winding down. DeLeon hit James Guitierrez on fourth and 14 for a first down at the YHS 27. Three plays later DeLeon would score from the one. DeLeon also scored the two-point conversion. Sierra was up 27-20 with only a minute to play.
Antonis returned the ensuing kickoff to the 50. The offense had 1:03 to knot up the score. Matyshcokthrew a fade to Antonis who caught the ball after bouncing off the defender and raced to the end zone. YHS then went for the win. Dylan Macallef got his second straight two point conversion to give YHS their first win in a 28-27 thriller.