LEMOORE — El Diamante High's football team had a solution for the state's rushing leader, and answered any questions about its ability to win without three-year workhorse running back DeAngello Torres.
The Bee's Central Section No. 10-ranked Miners limited Richard Doctor to a season-low 91 yards while riding big play after big play from junior quarterback J.C. Robles in a 27-21 victory over No. 15 Lemoore that clinched at least a share of a seventh West Yosemite League title in the program's 10 seasons.
El Diamante won its fifth straight game and bolstered its résumé to receive the No. 1 seed for the Division II playoffs when pairings are announced a week from today. The Miners did it without Torres, their 1,038-yard, 14-touchdown rusher who was sidelined by a groin injury.
The biggest — and easily the gutsiest — play Robles made on a night he passed for season-highs of 193 yards and three touchdowns came on a fourth-and-1 from the El Diamante 37 with roughly 7 minutes left. The call from the sideline was a no-play, hope for an offsides penalty, and if it didn't happen, take a delay and punt.
Robles had other ideas.
"I saw a hole," Robles said. "I trusted my guard and center to get me a foot."
So he snapped the ball and plunged between the blocks of right guard Eddie Leon and center Ernesto Alvarez for the first down.
With Lemoore out of timeouts, the play extended a drive that would see Robles convert twice more on fourth down — a run of 8 yards when the Miners needed 1 and a pass of 24 yards to Mitchell Boswell when they needed 4 — as El Diamante (8-1, 5-0) held the ball the rest of the way.
"He thought he could get it and he took it in his hands," Miners coach Mark Rogers said. "Sometimes you've got to do that. It's a players' game. Big players step up at big times, and he did that tonight."
That said, Rogers joked "I would have killed him if he didn't make it."
In addition to Robles' big night (he threw touchdown passes of 14 yards to Nicholas Bigger, 39 yards to Adam Chavez and 13 yards to Joey Chica) and a solid performance from backup running back Keylan Liles (81 yards on 11 carries, including a 62-yard touchdown), the Miners' defense held Doctor 162 yards below his per game average of 253.
El Diamante defenders Darius Liles, Jake Newbrough, Hunter Bettencourt and Trenton Aguilar all dropped Doctor — who entered with the most rushing yards in the state according to statistics kept on maxpreps.com — for losses on a night he was held to 3 yards or fewer on 17 of his 26 carries.
"We worked all week in practice on keying him," Daruis Liles said.
"Film, film, film. You can't just be athletic, you have to be smart, too. And no missed tackles. He's a great back. We had to wrap him up."
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