KINGSBURG — Kingsburg High football coach Dave Steele gathered his offensive line for an impromptu meeting before school let out Friday.
"I really challenged them to step up," Steele said. "We had to run the ball and be physical up front. They had to bring their 'A' game."
Left tackle Isaiah Trevino, left guard Bernie Rincon, center Frank Gutierrez, right guard Nick Steele and right tackle Ben Olson responded in a big way for the Vikings, who withstood a second-half rally to upset The Bee's Central Section No. 12-ranked Dinuba 35-27 in a Central Sequoia League game.
The group paved the way for Kingsburg — which saw a six-year, 38-game home winning streak snapped by Paso Robles in overtime last week — to rush for 230 yards while keeping quarterback Brandon Steele protected long enough to pass for 252.
"It was just about heart. We knew we could beat them," said Nick Steele, Dave's nephew. "We just out-physicalled them and pushed harder."
The Kingsburg line was particularly tough on the two plays that sealed the outcome.
On a fourth-and-goal from the 1-inch line while clinging to a 21-14 lead with 6:13 remaining in the game, the offensive line's surge left two Dinuba defenders on their backs as Seth Brooks walked into the end zone.
Then, protecting a 28-20 lead with 2:35 left, the Vikings (6-1, 1-0) knocked four Emperors off their feet to make a clearing for Brooks on his way to a 44-yard touchdown.
"They were good," Brooks said of a line that sprung him for 110 yards rushing. "Especially when we needed it."
Dinuba didn't go quietly, getting a 21-yard touchdown pass from Marcus McMaryion to Mario Rodriguez and a 75-yard kickoff return from Xavier Jones over a 1:06 span late in the fourth quarter.
But the Emperors (6-2, 1-1) were not able to recover a pooched kickoff after their last score, and Kingsburg's line delivered again, literally pushing Jimmy Kesting 23 yards for the game-sealing first down.
"At times we've been good this year and at times we've really needed to pick it up," Trevino said. "I'm really proud of the line in this game. But we still need to take it to another level."
Dinuba entered averaging 41.7 points a game, but Kingsburg pitched a first-half shutout while jumping out to a 21-0 lead.
A Josh Sierra interception set up Brooks' first touchdown run, a 4-yarder, in the first quarter. Brandon Steele scored on a 6-yard second-quarter draw, and also connected with Kesting on a 61-yard scoring pass.
"Kingsburg was well- prepared for us. They out-coached us and out-played us," Dinuba coach Kevin Scharton said. "I thought our kids played their tails off in the second half. We got back in the game, but we couldn't get over the hump and catch them."
The winner of this game has gone on to capture or share the past seven CSL titles.
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6103, email@example.com or NickG_FB on Twitter.