Senior Marcus Hawkins, one of the Central Section’s elite two-way players, rushed for four touchdowns as 14th-ranked Sunnyside High spun a North Yosemite League showdown with Fresno into a home-field mismatch with a 48-16 decision Friday night.
Both teams entered 2-0 in league, but the Wildcats (6-2) had no trouble winning a sixth straight on Senior Night while virtually locking up at least a tie for their fourth league title in five seasons.
Also pursuing a high seed in Division II, which features unbeaten and No. 6 Sanger, Sunnyside will close the regular season against Hoover (2-6, 2-1) on Friday at McLane and at Reedley (0-8, 0-3) on Nov. 4.
Hawkins scored on a 76-yard run to give the Wildcats a 22-point lead in the third quarter.
But his biggest play of the night was delivered as a linebacker as he stopped Fresno running back John L’Heurueux on fourth down near the goal line with 2 minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the first half.
Sunnyside continued to emphasize the running game as sophomore Devon Jones scored from 23 yards.
Fresno (5-3), which beat Sunnyside 40-35 in overtime last year for the league title, was held to 100 yards while being shut out in the second half.
The fourth-ranked Golden Eagles (6-2, 3-0) blew out to a 31-0 lead by halftime, setting up a showdown with No. 2 Central next week at Koligian Stadium for the lead in the Tri-River Athletic Conference. (The Grizzlies beat No. 12 Clovis North 28-7 on Thursday).
Adrian Martinez threw a pair of touchdown passes to Hayden Leach for an early 14-0 advantage. After an Eli Riofrio field goal, Diego Cruz recovered a fumble to set up a Martinez scoring run to make it 24-0. Rodney Wright, coming off a three-TD game against Buchanan, capped the first half scoring with a 20-yard run.
The Timberwolves (0-8, 0-3), held to single-digit points in four straight games and outscored 374-68 overall this season, did not get on the scoreboard until the final quarter.
The Miners (4-4, 2-2 West Yosemite League) beat the No. 11 Rangers (7-1, 3-1) at Groppetti Community Stadium in Visalia with an outstanding defensive stand.
Redwood came in averaging more than 31 points per game but was held to an opening kickoff return for a touchdown by Michael Harris and an intentional safety with 36 seconds left.
El Diamante got a fourth-quarter interception in the end zone while protecting a 19-7 lead. Derek Hernandez tied it early on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Parker Boswell, who put the Miners ahead to stay with a quarterback sneak and Andrew Valdez added a short touchdown run in the third quarter.
Junior Ramirez passed for a touchdown, ran for another and returned a fumble for a third score to help the No. 16 Bears keep their unbeaten season going with a Central Sequoia League victory against the Eagles.
Rudy Rodriguez rushed for two touchdowns for Selma (8-0, 3-0), which is ranked No. 1 in Division IV heading into its final league games at Exeter on Oct. 28 and at rival Kingsburg on Nov. 4.
Jordan Dominguez rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries for the Bears, who led 40-0 at halftime. Immanuel fell to 1-6 and 0-3.
Ryan Cook and Gonzalo Rodriguez each scored two touchdowns to help the No. 18 Trailblazers (7-1, 3-1 WYL) beat the host Huskies (3-6, 0-5).
The No. 19 Bullpups (5-4, 3-2) moved into third place in the WYL by beating the Pioneers (3-5, 2-2) at Mineral King Bowl in Visalia.
Hanford, the defending state Division IV-AA champion, has a bye before finishing the regular season against rival Lemoore.
Cris Martinez returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown, and the Highlanders defense picked off the Pirates (0-8, 0-3 NYL) two more times en route to their first victory of the season.
Brandon Ruiz returned a kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown that put McLane (1-7, 1-2) in front 30-6 before halftime.
Andre Aguilar had two shorts touchdown runs, powering the Mustangs past the Hawks in an East Yosemite League game.
Tulare Western (6-2, 3-0) raced to a 35-0 halftime lead over Mission Oak (3-5, 2-1).
Wyatt Leppke picked off three passes as the Emperors (5-3, 2-1 CSL) snapped a six-game winning streak for the Vikings (6-2, 2-1).
Gustavo Villareal passed for 246 yards and a 30-yard touchdown to Ismael Moreno, who added a 25-yard field goal along with an extra point following a 1-yard scoring run by Lucas Tuttle.
JJ Lino threw four touchdown passes, two to Gavin Salierno, as the Cavaliers (3-5, 1-2) topped the Monarchs (4-4, 1-2) in the Central Sequoia League.
Exeter’s Skyler Miller passed for two touchdowns to Trystin Johnston and also ran for a score.
Lino finished with 346 yards passing – 242 going to Salierno on seven catches.
The Hawks (5-3, 2-0 NSL) won their fifth straight and ended a five-game winning streak for the Panthers (5-4, 2-1) on homecoming in Madera Ranchos.
In the process, Liberty took command of the NSL with games left against one-loss teams (Kerman and Chowchilla).
The Hawks dominated with a 320-yard rushing night, led by Christian Baker with 21 carries for 162 yards and two scores. However, with Liberty inside the Washington 5-yard line with about 30 seconds to play, Baker suffered a leg injury as he was driven out of bounds trying to reach the end zone. He was helped to the training table; the severity of his injury was not immediately clear.
The Panthers rallied from a 14-0 deficit to go ahead 20-14 early in the third quarter. But Liberty answered Noah Beukers’ second score of the game with a punishing TD drive of its own to go ahead 21-20, then stopped a fake punt on Washington’s side of the field and scored again to take control.
Washington’s Victor Nava was just 15 of 39 passing and had an interception deep in Panthers territory two plays after the Hawks had coughed it up on a fumble out of the Washington end zone.
Quarterback Sean Chambers had 271 total yards and two touchdowns to lead the Lions (5-3, 1-1 NSL) past the visiting Chieftains (4-4, 0-3).
Chambers ran 19 times for 177 yards and two touchdowns, including a 16-yard run in the fourth quarter after Sierra got within 25-14 on two third-quarter scores.
Chambers also connected with Mason Layton on a 68-yard scoring pass that made it 25-0 early in the third quarter.
Shane Maldonado scored twice for the Chieftains and totaled 220 yards including 146 rushing.
The Spartans (8-0, 3-0) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back while beating the Panthers (1-7, 1-2) to remain undefeated.
Strathmore can clinch at least a tie for the East Sequoia League title with at Granite Hills on Oct. 28.
The Redcats are back at .500, winning their third straight after a 1-4 start as Martin Plata caught two of Julian Sweidy’s three first-half touchdown passes and added an 80-yard kickoff return in a 25-point third quarter of a West Sequoia League victory over the Mustangs
Fowler (4-4, 2-0) and Riverdale (6-2, 2-0), an 8-7 winner over Caruthers, will duel next week for the league lead. Minarets reached a season high in points but fell to 0-8 and 0-2.
Mitchel Maggini rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and the Cowboys executed the 2-point conversion to edge the Blue Raiders in a West Sequoia League game.
It was the fourth straight game Riverdale (6-2, 2-0) held an opponent to just seven points – and the team’s fourth straight victory. Maggini finished with 101 yards rushing.
Caruthers (6-2, 2-1) took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a touchdown run by Alex Puga, who finished with 129 yards on the ground.
The Cardinals’ Damien Bernal answered a long touchdown pass with a 68-yard run of his own as D-VI third-ranked Orosi (5-3, 2-1) broke open a close game and cruised past the Mustangs (0-8, 0-3) in the East Sierra League.
Laton had pulled with 14-8 on Ivan Soto’s 60-yard catch at the end of the first quarter, but Bernal broke free to push the lead back to double digits and it was 38-8 by the third quarter.
The Aztecs hit a season-high for points while routing the Buccaneers in a West Sierra League matchup.
Junior Cardenas passed for four touchdowns (two to Fabian Jasson and two to Julian Cardenas) as D-V top-ranked Mendota (8-0, 3-0) raced to a 42-0 lead at halftime. Riley Lopez rushed for 108 yards with scoring runs of 92 and 2 yards, while Erick Segura, Cristian Muratalla and Alfredo Ramirez each added a rushing touchdown.
Mendota, which earlier scored 61 against Minarets, wraps up the regular season against Coalinga on Oct. 28 and at Tranquillity on Nov. 3.
The Broncos (4-4, 2-1) beat the Eagles (6-2, 1-2) in what amounted for a battle for second place in the West Sierra League. Mendota has beaten both teams.
Cannon Eames caught three passes – all for touchdowns spanning 140 yards – from brother Tristan Eames as the Badgers (7-1) beat the Panthers (0-8).
Tristan Eames finished with four touchdown passes (the other to Cass Moreno) and Dalin Haas capped the scoring with a touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Taye Haynes’ punt return for a touchdown put the Patriots (2-6, 2-1) ahead for the first time in the fourth quarter Thursday as they rallied from a 20-0 deficit against the Rough Riders (1-7, 1-2) in the North Yosemite League.
Haynes also had an interception late in the game to seal the victory.
Hoover’s comeback also featured a field goal by Javi Pacheco and a touchdown run by Jose Medina.
The Patriots will host Sunnyside on Oct. 28 as NYL play continues, while Roosevelt plays at McLane on Oct. 27.
After the Panthers’ Joey Sandoval returned a fumble 90 yards to open the scoring Thursday, the No. 20 Tribe (7-1) scored the last 50 points of the game to improve to 3-0 in the East Yosemite League.
Kazmeir Allen rushed for 184 yards, caught six passes for 154 and totaled four touchdowns to lead the Tribe.
Nathan Lamb completed 22 of 25 passes for 374 yards and four touchdowns, with his favorite target being Emoryie Edwards, who caught eight passes for 140 yards and two scores.
Tulare’s Bryan Rosas had two interceptions, one for a 30-yard score.
The Tribe face Mission Oak on Oct. 38 and traditional rival Tulare West in the Bell Game on Nov. 3.
Ramon Ortega’s touchdown pass to Didier Aburto put the Tigers (3-5, 1-2) ahead for the first time Thursday with 1:09 left in the second quarter at 17-14, and Delano went on to defeat the Marauders (2-6, 0-3) for its first EYL win since 2011.
The Tigers pulled away in the second half as Ortega rushed for two of his three touchdowns and Aburto added two more scoring runs.
Delano hosts Porterville on Oct. 28 as EYL play continues, while Monache plays at Tulare Western on Oct. 27.