Gregg Dodderidge

Badgers defeat Sierra in 38th annual Mountain Bowl

Special to the Sierra Star

The Yosemite Badgers wrapped up the historic 2019 regular season with a 27-6 win over Sierra in the 38th annual Mountain Bowl last Friday at Tollhouse. It was a non-conference win as Sierra is not participating in the North Sequoia League in football this season.

The win moved YHS to 9-1 overall and 3-1 in the NSL. The only loss was to NSL league champ Washington Union, a Division IV team.

The Badgers move on to the Central Section Division V playoffs. YHS received a No. 2 seed and will host Firebaugh High on Friday, Nov. 8t at Badger Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 7 pm.

Yosemite finishes the NSL campaign in second place. Washington Union 9-1, 4-0 was crowned champion after crushing Kerman 48-14 last week. Other NSL finishers: Kerman 4-6, 2-2, Liberty 4-6, 1-3, and Chowchilla 3-7, 0-4. Other than YHS and Union, only Kerman will move on. Kerman is also in D-IV.

The win against Sierra was expected.

The once-proud Chieftain Football program has fallen on hard times. The Chieftains are winless this season at 0-10 and are riding a 14-game losing streak dating back to last season.

But the game wasn’t a blowout. Sierra has shown improvement in the latter part of the 2019 campaign. SHS stayed close to Minarets losing 40-21 the week prior.

To the shock of many, Sierra took a 6-3 lead after the first quarter on a touchdown pass from quarterback Malcolm Denomme to Dryden Ray. After that, it was all YHS who scored 24 unanswered points to pull away.

The Yosemite defense completely shut down the Sierra ground game allowing only 17 yards on 16 carries. Sierra ran for over 200 yards against Minarets. It forced Sierra to throw, which is not a strength for the Chieftains. Overall, the Badger D limited Sierra to 117 total yards.

YHS kicker Zach Palmer connected on a 34-yard field goal to start the YHS run. Palmer has been a tremendous asset for YHS this season with his reliability and range. This will serve the Badgers well in the playoffs when games are on the line.

Badger QB Jadyn Carter scored on an 8-yard run and later connected with WR Steven Baker on a 15-yard touchdown pass. YHS went into halftime up 17-6.

Palmer would hit on a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter. It was the only scoring in the quarter. Badger running back Nicholas Harper put the game away on a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Game Stats

Palmer accounted for 9 of the Badgers 27 points. Palmer was a perfect 3 for 3 in point-after kicks. Palmer is having one of the strongest seasons as a kicker in recent memory.

The Badgers dominated on the ground amassing 234 yards on 40 carries averaging 5.8 yards per rush. As usual, Harper led the way with 21 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown.

The Badgers spread the wealth with seven different rushers. Senior back-up running back Jose Murillo carried 6 times for 46 yards averaging 7.7 yards per carry. Matt Dugovic had two carries for 10 yards.

Jadyn Carter was 9 of 16 for 63 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception. Carter also ran 5 times for 60 yards and a touchdown. Carter’s ability to run out of the pocket has been a huge boost for the YHS offense.

Denomme led Sierra’s limited offensive production. Denomme was 5 of 17 passing for 92 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. Ray had 3 catches for 57 yards and a TD. Connor O’Dell had two catches for 29 yards.

The Division V Playoffs

The Badgers drew a No. 2 seed in the CIF Central Section Division V playoffs. YHS earned a home game against the No. 15 seeded Firebaugh Eagles. Game time is 7 pm at Badger Stadium. Overall, the D-V playoffs will contain 16 teams. Caruthers (9-1, 5-0) of the West Sequoia League is the No. 1 seed.

Despite a No. 15 seed, the Eagle program has a great football tradition. It is the same school that produced Josh Allen, the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. The Eagles are a perennial playoff title contender. Firebaugh (6-4, 3-2) plays in the West Sierra League where they finished in a three-way tie for second place.

The Eagles bring a balanced offense to Oakhurst. Overall, FHS averages 157 yards passing and 148 rushing per game. Jorge Osuna (864 yards/7 TD’s) and Danny Olivera (376 yards/8 TDs) lead the Eagle running attack.

Andres Altamirano is the leading passer with 75 completions of 137 attempts with 12 TDs and 6 interceptions. Jauron Haynie (43 catches/605 yards & 6 TDs) and Alexis Muro (18 catches/331 yards & 7 TDs) lead the Eagle receiving corps. The Eagles are coached by Dejon Kelly who has guided the Eagles deep into the playoffs for several years.