The Badgers football program is having a historic 2019 season. Undefeated and winners of three tough playoff-type road games against ranked opponents have pushed the program to the No. 1 ranked D-V football team in the Central Section, according to MaxPreps.com.
So it was exciting for players and fans to have the Badgers home again, especially for YHS Homecoming. But the opponent proved just as tough as any.
The Tribe of Chowchilla came into Badger Stadium with a less than stellar 3-6 record. But Chowchilla’s physicality, athleticism, and potent run game gave the Badgers all they could handle.
In the end YHS, behind the leadership and play of junior quarterback Jadyn Carter, broke a 28-28 tie and YHS (8-0, 3-0) defeated the Tribe 35-28. Carter ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more. He also broke a school record for the highest pass-completion percentage in a game.
“Jadyn really came of age as a quarterback in this game,” former QB coach and step-father Mike Gipson said. “Jaydn needed to make plays with his feet and we really needed that tonight. I’m super proud of him.”
For head coach Chance Sigala it was a very special team win.
“We faced adversity all season,” Sigala said. “Tonight was no different. We came back time after time. We never quit. This team doesn’t quit. This was a game that tested our resolve and it pushed us to get the job done in a very physical game.”
Sigala, now in his second season, envisioned a Badger team that could play with any team in the NSL. It didn’t come to fruition in his first season as NSL opponents ran over the Badgers.
It is different this season.
The Badgers are as physical as any team in the NSL and have potent weapons on both sides of the ball.
The game was very physical. It was also chippy and at times, ugly. It was sloppy too with six combined turnovers. At least seven combined personal foul penalties were thrown.
“Chowchilla is a very big and strong team,” Sigala said. “They hit us hard. They are not afraid to force you out of what you do best. Chowchilla took the run game away from us early. That hasn’t happened to us this year. Despite that, the players found ways to make big plays in big moments.”
Chowchilla scored on their first possession with their potent ground attack from the old-school double wing. The offense of yesteryear is still hard to stop. Jaylinn Gaines scored first on a 3-yard touchdown run. The Tribe score came on an 11-play, 65-yard drive. It was the only score of the first quarter.
Carter’s night didn’t start well. He threw a second-quarter interception.
The Tribe took over and drove to the YHS 14 but YHS safety Holden Eames picked off a pass in the end zone and returned it to the YHS 40. It was the eighth interception of the season for Eames. A YHS personal foul moved the ball back 15 yards. It didn’t matter. Carter bounced back, bolting 20 yards on a scramble.
On the next play, Carter dumped it off to running back Nic Harper for a 52-yard touchdown. Later, Harper ran for a 10-yard touchdown.
YHS led 14-7 at halftime despite two turnovers and eight penalties.
Carter kept it going early in the third scoring on a 29-yard run. YHS had what looked like a commanding 21-7 lead but the Tribe answered on a rare pass.
Chowchilla QB Tony Woolsey connected for a 45-yard gain to Evan Guthrie down to the YHS 18. Guthrie scored on the next play and the YHS lead was 21-14.
Carter answered on a 19-yard touchdown scramble. YHS was up 28-14. Chowchilla aired it out again, this time it was Bobby Faddis who scored on a 70-yard pass play from Darian Lopez.
The third quarter ended with YHS holding on to a 28-21 lead.
The Tribe tied the score early in the fourth quarter with Gaines scoring his second rushing TD on a 1-yard run.
With just over four minutes to play, offensive coordinator Scott Rold called a slant play for Kevin Wilborn. It was perfect timing. Wilborn was wide open and scored from 47-yards.
Later it was Wilborn on defense who stipped Woolsey and recovered a fumble to preserve the Badger’s perfect season.
Carter connected on 11 of 12 passes for 230 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. Carter’s pass completion percentage of 91% is now a YHS school record. He also ran for 56 yards and two touchdowns. It was the second game-winning drive led by Carter this season.
“Jaydn had the best game of his career for us,” Sigala said. “He kept making big plays all night. We spread the ball around and got a lot of players involved.”
Receiving: Welborn 2/50 1 TD; Eames 2/43; Harper 1/57 1 TD; Matt Dugovic 1/47; Steven Baker 3/25.
The Tribe shut down the strong Badger running attack. Harper had a season-low 25 yards on 16 carries. Fortunately, the Tribe did not have an answer for Carter’s passing and running.
On defense, Harper had a huge night leading YHS with 17 tackles, a season-high. Matt Dugovic also had a season-high 14 tackles. Kevin Welborn had 12 tackles. Gabe Swigert and Steven Baker each had 11.
The Tribe racked up 221 yards rushing. Darian Lopez led CHS with 99 yards. Gaines had 83 yards and two touchdowns. Woolsey and Lopez combined completed five passes for 164 yards. The Tribe passing game came up with big plays all night averaging 33 yards per catch.
Two No. 1s will face off Friday.
The Badgers will host the Washington Union Panthers on Friday, Oct. 25 at Badger Stadium. Game times: 5 pm JV/7 pm Varsity.
It will be Senior Night. It could also be for the North Sequoia League title. A Badger win will guarantee an outright NSL title. Union (7-1, 2-0) will still have to play at Kerman on Nov. 1.
Union is on a roll. The Panthers have won six straight. Their only loss was a 19-13 game to Kingsburg on Aug. 30.
Union plays in Division IV along with Kerman and Chowchilla. The Panthers are the No. 1 ranked D-IV program in the Central Section according to MaxPreps.com.
The Panthers handed YHS their worst defeat in 2018 with a 64-0 win at Easton. Union is a perennial playoff team. The Panthers have outscored opponents 321-145 and averaged 40 points per game. It is the most potent offense YHS will face all year.
Union has a balanced offense, averaging 215 yards passing and 164 rushing.
Washington Union is led by sophomore QB Lawrence Stell, who is 53 of 80 passing for 998 yards and 15 touchdowns with only one interception. Stell’s QB rating of 143.6 is the highest in the section. Stell leads Union with 313 yards rushing with 3 touchdowns.
“This will be a big game for us,” Sigala said. “We are both No. 1 in our respective divisions. This is what high school football is all about! Union is a great team with a lot of physical athletes. They are well-coached with an excellent staff that puts their players in a position to make plays. They are fast and can score quickly.”