It only took a couple plays to convince Gabriel Sanchez.
As the Chowchilla High football team marched down the field on its opening possession behind Sanchez and his teammates along the offensive line, the tone was being set.
The Redskins cruised 58 yards in nine plays, capped by Anthony Stewart’s 5-yard touchdown, to take a lead they would never relinquish en route to a 28-16 victory over Fairfax-Los Angeles in the CIF Southern California Regional Division IV-A bowl.
Chowchilla will host Sierra-Manteca at 6 p.m. Dec. 19 for the state title. The Timberwolves beat Sutter 17-13 in the Northern California Regional.
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“They were so talkative, so we punched them in the face like we needed to,” Sanchez said. “As soon as the game started, we knew we were going to win because we were punching them straight in the mouth and they couldn’t do nothing.”
They were so talkative, so we punched them in the face like we needed to.
Chowchilla right guard Gabriel Sanchez on his team’s 28-16 victory over Fairfax in the CIF Southern California Regional Division IV-A bowl.
Right guard Sanchez, right tackle Gary Nieuwkoop, center Matthew Johnston, left guard Dylan Rees and left tackle Tanner Hill executed Chowchilla’s double-wing offense to near perfection, paving the way for the Redskins to rush for 360 clock-controlling yards.
Alex Gutierrez led the Redskins with 134 yards, while Stewart had 96 yards and two touchdowns. Danny Chavez added 97 yards and one score.
Stewart said Fairfax was pinching in with its defensive ends, which opened the outside for Chowchilla all night.
“We tried to get outside on their defensive ends,” Stewart said. “They never adjusted to it.
“This is a great win. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. We got it done.”
Chowchilla led 21-3 at halftime, adding a 15-yard Chavez touchdown run and Justin Cantrell’s 66-yard kickoff return.
But Fairfax (8-7) got an 83-yard kickoff return from Ramses Hernandez to open the second half and cut the deficit to 21-10.
The Redskins responded with a six-play, 66-yard drive that culminated in Stewart’s second touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run.
“If we go three-and-out there, they have momentum,” Chowchilla coach Alex Pittz said. “But that’s the beauty of this offense. We can make 7-, 8-minute drives, and that took their air out.”
360 Yards rushing gained by Chowchilla in a 28-16 victory over Fairfax
The Lions closed to 28-16 with 8:13 left on a 68-yard run by Hernandez on a fourth-and-3 play, but that was the last time they would touch the ball. Hernandez, who entered averaging more than 200 yards a game, was held to 74 yards on 18 carries before his long touchdown.
Despite being pinned at its own 3-yard line after the ensuing kickoff, Chowchilla kept the ball the rest of the way, moving to the Fairfax 12 before taking a knee twice to send the Central Section Division IV champs to a state final in the first year of an expanded bowl system that will crown 13 champions next weekend.
“We knew from our team camp in the summer that this would be a special group,” Pittz said. “But there were also challenges to everyone on this team. They have worked so hard this season. To have it culminate in this is spectacular. I’m so happy for them.”