The Badgers are a perfect 2-0 to start the 2019 campaign. Yosemite defeated the Parlier Panthers 31-9 on Friday, Aug. 30 at Parlier in a non-conference game.
While the score looked lopsided, the Badgers struggled to find points in the first half.
Parlier (1-1) out of the West Sequoia League led 9-0 at halftime. After a early first-quarter field goal, Panther QB Josh Rodriguez hit Dominic Quintero for an 8-yard touchdown.
The Badgers were hit with 10 penalties along with a fumble and two interceptions in the first half. It was gut check time in the locker room at halftime.
“We talked a lot in the locker room about overcoming adversity,” assistant coach Mike Miller said. “We challenged the players to respond in the second half.”
The Badgers did that by scoring 31 unanswered points to pull out the win. YHS QB Jaydn Carter connected with Stephen Baker for a 7-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter. Kevin Wellborn then scored on a 24-yard touchdown run giving YHS their first lead of the night. The Badgers went into the fourth quarter with a 14-9 lead.
Early in the fourth, Holden Eames returned a punt 47 yards for a touchdown to give YHS some breathing room. Later in the quarter, YHS kicker Zachary Palmer connected on a 29-yard field goal. Palmer was nearly perfect on the night going 4-4 on PATs. His only miss came on a 44-yard field goal attempt. Jake Conklin recovered a Parlier fumble in the end zone to finish a strong second half for YHS. The Badger defense was stout in the half with interceptions by Eames and Ethan Coffman.
Second-year Badger head coach Chance Sigala was pleased overall with the YHS defensive effort.
“We are learning and growing each week,” Sigala said. “Our defense has been aggressive and very physical. We have held our first two opponents to just 15 points. We also have more depth than last year and this has helped us on both sides of the ball.”
Despite the first half, Sigala was also optimistic on the offense. “We have scored 31 points two games in a row. Our kicking game is strong which has helped speed up the progress of our special teams. But we need to correct our mistakes and penalties. If we cut those down we will be a lot better as a team.”