Erick Segura, in family tradition, broke a tie in the final minutes with a spectacular 34-yard run and closed with an interception as Mendota High won 26-19 at Liberty-Madera Ranchos on Friday night in a nonleague duel of Central Section small schools powers.
Segura, a junior and younger brother to Edgar Segura – The Fresno Bee’s 2013 Player of the Year – burst into the secondary, juked not one, but two Hawks defenders and raced into the end zone for the score with 3 minutes, 18 seconds remaining.
“Kind of gave a little flashback of his brother, huh?” Aztecs coach Beto Mejia said in reference to Edgar Segura, the leading career scorer in state history (900 points, 2011-13), No. 1 all-time in the section for career rushing (8,029) and touchdowns (137) and now starting for Mt. San Antonio College.
“Erick’s come a long way, because of a bruised thigh,” Mejia says. “More important, he’s come out of the shadow of his brother. I’ve told him from the get-go, this is not like being like your brother; this about being at your best because I don’t like comparing anybody. Erick’s a special kid, a real special kid. By the time he leaves, he’ll be one of the best running backs in the Valley.”
The winning score was set up by senior quarterback Junior Cardenas, a three-year starter, who rolled right, then left and, off one foot, lobbed a 28-yard spiral of perfection to Fabian Jasso, who had scored twice on receptions previously.
“Junior’s come a long way,” Mejia says of the three-year starter and nephew of offensive coordinator Jesus Cardenas. “He’s maturing, and he’s maturing at the right time. He shows ice in his veins.’
Liberty, given shocking life on Wyatt Johnson’s fumble recovery with 52 seconds remaining after the Aztecs had reached the Hawks 7-yard line – and with Liberty out of timeouts – had a crowd of about 2,500 gasping when Segura intercepted a pass on the Aztecs 10 with the clock striking 0:00.
Cardenas, a 2,858-yard, 32-TD passer as a junior, threw for 196 yards and Segura finished with 75 yards rushing as the Aztecs improved to 2-0 while slicing Liberty-Madera Ranchos’ series lead to 7-3.
The game matched teams who have combined for four section titles and three runner-up finishes in the past five years in Divisions IV, V and VI.
Edgar Segura’s prep career ended at the same site in a 31-19 loss to the Hawks for the D-V championship in 2013.
Little brother was then an unfailing observer from the Aztecs’ sideline: “I was the water boy. I never missed a game.”
He now operates in a broad-based Mendota offense that ranges from a full-house, three-member backfield to a four wide receiver set.
Segura’s winning score and deal-sealing theft thwarted the wire-to-wire brilliance of Liberty’s Christian Baker, a 5-foot-9, 210-pound senior fullback who carried 22 times for 188 yards and three TDs and also dominated at middle linebacker.
The Cougars, ranked third in the Central Section by The Bee, never trailed but needed an interception by senior cornerback Bailey Obernesser in the first overtime to finally put away the Bulldogs.
Trey Lake hit 23 of 40 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns for Clovis (2-0), which built leads of 14-0 and 28-14 only to see the Bulldogs (0-2) rally to tie it with 6:29 left in regulation.
The Cougars’ Tyson Frasor finished with 14 catches – including touchdowns of 30 and 53 yards from Lake – and 248 receiving yards.
The sixth-ranked Tigers trailed by four at halftime, but surrendered 12 points to the Mustangs of Reno in the fourth quarter to drop to 0-2 on their season-opening, two-game, 1,050-mile road trip.
Aaron Mosby returned an interception 34 yards for a score and caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Tijerina as the 10th-ranked Apaches built a big lead against the Ryan Johnson-less Bullpups and withstood their fourth quarter rally.
Miguel Garcia scored twice on 1-yard runs and Andrew Azua added a 28-yard field goal as Sanger (2-0) opened a 31-0 lead.
Hanford (0-2), ranked 18th, rallied in the fourth, getting Theron Dutra touchdown passes of 76 yards to Jordan Perryman and 34 yards to Mitchell Hunt.
The Bullpups used Dutra and Leonard Glass at quarterback in place of reigning Bee Player of the Year Johnson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week in a loss at Buchanan.
Trent Thompkins threw for five touchdowns to power the No. 11 Grizzlies (1-1) past the visiting Wildcats (0-2).
Thompkins completed 11 of 22 passes for 292 yards. He threw four long TDs in the first half as Central bolted to a 28-0 lead – 33 yards to Jaylon Johnson, 33 yards to Avery Boyd, 22 yards to Javon Bigelow and 71 yards to Jacob Torrez.
Sunnyside got within 28-15 on Deshawn Ruffin’s 80-yard kickoff return and a two-point conversion to start the second half.
But Bigelow scored on a 1-yard run and Diotry Brewer added two short scoring runs before Torrez and Thompkins hooked up one more time for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
Brewer had 16 carries for 175 yards. Ricky Valderrama had 21 rushes for 119 yards for the Wildcats.
Joshua Portillo returned the second-half kickoff 59 yards to set up the first of three third-quarter touchdowns as the No. 14 Mustangs (2-0) pulled away from the Pioneers (0-2) at Visalia’s Mineral King Bowl.
It took Tulare Western nine plays to put up 21 points in the third as Andre Aguilar scored on an 11-yard run three plays after Portillo’s long return.
The Mustangs’ next two drives, punctuated by scoring runs of 10 and 2 yards by David Alcantar, also were converted in three plays.
Jordan Rivera capped the scoring for Tulare Western with 4:03 left when he returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown, giving the Mustangs 34 unanswered points.
Tulare Western bolted out to a 20-0 first half lead on a 31-yard scoring run by Aguilar, a 16-yard touchdown by Alcantar and a 45-yard scoring pass from Aguilar to LJ Early.
Mt. Whitney got back into it, tying the score 20-20 with second quarter touchdown runs of 3 yards by Adam De La Torre and runs of 34 and 63 yards by Jason Rosas.
But the Mustangs went ahead for good – 28-20 – on Aguilar’s 1-yard run with 1:06 remaining before halftime.
Aguilar, Tulare Western’s dual threat quarterback, finished with 187 yards passing and 108 rushing.
Mt. Whitney was led by Rosas, who rushed for 159 yards.
Dashawn Holliman caught a touchdown pass and ran for another score and Michael Alvarez also rushed for a touchdown to lead the No. 15 Panthers (2-0) past the Tigers (0-2).
Lemoore led 7-6 at halftime thanks to a Jacob Taylor to Jack Foote 22-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Taylor later left the game with an apparent knee injury, The Hanford Sentinel reported, and was replaced by Jimmie Jeff, who hooked up with Foote for a scoring pass with 3:23 to play.
Gustavo Villarreal passed for three touchdowns as the No. 16 Emperors improved to 2-0.
Rushing touchdowns of 48 yards for Luis Colunga and 22 for Alek Marroquin gave Dinuba a 13-3 lead in the first quarter. Villarreal – who would finish 12 of 19 for 210 yards – then hit Joseph Saldivar for a 54-yard TD and Lucas Tuttle’s 9-yard scoring run made it 27-3 at the half.
Reedley (0-2) pulled within 27-9 after Adam Morales’ 56-yard touchdown run and a failed 2-point conversion with 9:19 to go in the third, but Villarreal found Wyatt Leppke for a 14-yard strike. Morales again answered, this time with a 7-yard run to make it 34-16, but Villareal and Saldivar connected for a 50-yard TD with 43 seconds left in the third to account for the final score.
Nathan Lamb passed for two touchdowns and ran for another and Kazmir Allen added two rushing touchdowns – the second a 41-yarder in the third quarter that extended the No. 17-ranked Tribe’s lead to six touchdowns in their victory against the Miners.
Lamb finished with 221 yards passing with scores of 50 yards to Matt Dias and 43 to Emoryie Edwards, who caught 10 passes for 137 yards. Josh Guerrero accounted for the other Tulare (2-0) touchdown with a 35-yard pick-six. Allen racked up 144 rushing yards.
Andrew Valdez got El Diamante (0-2) on the scoreboard with a 28-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Jordan Rodriguez rushed for 215 yards and four scores to lead the Bears to victory in Easton.
No. 19 Selma broke an 11-game losing streak to Washington (0-2) dating to 1995. The Bears are 2-0 for the first time since 2011.
The Bears led 13-3 at halftime then got two scores in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
The visiting Rangers (2-0) scored in the final minute to earn a win over the Timberwolves (0-2).
Redwood turned it over inside its own 20 with 8 minutes left, giving Clovis East a chance to tie, but the Rangers defense held.
Timberwolves junior Gerard Mendez passed for two touchdowns.
Joe Marquez picked up his first win as Warriors coach, helped by a string of long scoring plays that began with Khory Day’s 35-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
Before it was over, Lee Major reeled in TD catches of 22 and 35 yards and Santos Arreola – who had an early short touchdown plunge – capped the scoring with a 35-yard run for Fresno (1-1).
Livingston (0-2), coming off a 1-9 season a year ago, has allowed 40-plus points in each of its first two games – losing at home to Delhi 42-21 in Week 1.
A 1-9 team a year ago, the Huskies improved to 2-0 with the shutout of the Panthers (0-2). Desmond Howard ran for a touchdown, Dameane Douglas hit Zackary Vikjord and Shawn Koelewyn on scoring passes and Owen Mole returned an interception for a touchdown.
The host Eagles led 25-0 before the 8-man game was called when a Coast Union player suffered an injury.
It continued as a scrimmage, the Fresno Christian student newspaper reported.
Braden Wingle threw three touchdown passes and Brock Holloway scored on two short runs to highlight a home win for the Eagles (1-1).
BC led the penalty-filled game 21-10 at halftime, then added two quick TDs in the first 3:20 of the third quarter to take command.
The Cavaliers (1-1) got two touchdowns from Connor Paden and a 59-yard scoring run from freshman Jaalen Rening.
A week after using a 15-0 fourth quarter to rally past Sierra Pacific, the Broncos put this one away in the first half.
Brandon Doucette’s 51-yard run with 3:07 left in the second quarter made it 17-0 as the Rough Riders suffered their second straight shutout.
Shane Maldonado rushed for 107 yards, three touchdowns and caught a fourth to lead the Chieftains over the visiting Mustangs in the opener for both teams.
Maldonado scored right out of the gate, as Sierra needed just five plays to end its opening 55-yard drive in the end zone. Minarets quarterback Jacob Cullen was 10 for 19, throwing a game-high 211 yards with one touchdown.
Skylar Miller scored four of his five combined touchdowns passing and rushing in the second half to help the Monarchs (2-0) pull away from the Tigers in the longest-running rivalry in the Central Section.
Miller hit Christian Genetti for a 40-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to snap a 7-7 tie, then scored on runs of 33, 3 and 27 yards. Miller also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Genetti to open the scoring in the first quarter. The Tigers fell to 1-1.
Sean Chambers threw four touchdown passes to power the Lions (1-1) over the Stallions (1-1).
The host Marauders (1-1) had three long touchdown drives – two after holding the Wildcats (1-1) scoreless deep in Monache territory – to win in Porterville.
Damien Bernal scored on a 60-yard run 21 seconds into the game and the Cardinals rolled to a season-opening win over the visiting Panthers (0-2).
Four-year starter Tristan Eames threw two first-half touchdown passes to brother Cannon Eames as the Badgers (2-0) rolled past the Mustangs (0-2) in Oakhurst.
Johnny Varian had nine rushes for 104 yards and two scores and Luke Howell had 100 yards rushing for Yosemite.
Laton led 3-0 on Ivan Soto’s 48-yard field goal.
The high school football roundup is compiled from reports by Bee staff writers Andy Boogaard and Nick Giannandrea and from reports from schools. Coaches, to include your team’s results in The Bee’s high school football report, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How The Bee’s Top 20 fared
1. Liberty-Bakersfield d. No. 12 Ridgeview 20-13
2. Bullard l. to No. 8 Buchanan 28-17
3. Clovis d. Turlock 34-28
4. Clovis West d. No. 13 Centennial 44-7
5. Bakersfield d. Bear Creek-Lakewood, Colo., 52-0
6. Edison l. to Damonte Ranch-Reno 26-10
7. Clovis North l. to Bellarmine-San Jose 32-21
8. Buchanan d. No. 2 Bullard 28-17
9. Stockdale d. Independence 21-7
10. Sanger d. No. 18 Hanford 31-14
11. Central d. Sunnyside 56-15
12. Ridgeview l. to No. 1 Liberty 20-13
13. Centennial l. to No. 4 Clovis West 44-7
14. Tulare Western d. Mt. Whitney 54-20
15. Memorial d. Lemoore 23-15
16. Dinuba d. Reedley 41-16
17. Tulare d. El Diamante 42-7
18. Hanford l. to No. 10 Sanger 31-14
19. Selma d. Washington 25-3
20. Garces l. to Arroyo Grande 36-32