Tiveon Stroud scored on runs of 32 and 35 yards and Abraham Rangel and Joel Aranda came up with a pair of big defensive stops to give top-seeded Selma High a chance at its first section title in more than three decades on Friday night.
The Bears (12-0) beat No. 4-seed Chavez-Delano 35-3 in the Central Section Division IV semifinals to advance to the championship game against No. 3 Chowchilla. The Redskins (10-1) beat No. 2 Golden West 26-24 in the other semifinal.
Selma is one win from the program’s first section football title since the 1980 Bears went 13-0.
“It’s incredible – really incredible,” said Rangel, the Bears’ starting defensive end and offensive lineman. “All our hard work, those summer workouts, it’s all coming together, and I’m really proud of my team.”
Rangel got the Bears going defensively with a tackle for loss on the Titans’ first play from scrimmage, resulting in an eventual three-and-out. On the next series, he came up with another big tackle for a loss that forced Chavez to settle for a field goal, a 26-yarder by Oscar Leon on its only visit to the red zone.
With the defense providing stops, Selma’s offense was churning out yards on the ground. Stroud led the attack while quarterback Junior Ramirez and running backs Jordan Dominguez and Rudy Rodriguez each had short touchdowns runs.
The Titans (9-3) couldn’t catch a break, with quarterback Deion Perkins picked off by Aranda in the middle of the third quarter and then their special teams fumbling away a kick return in the fourth.
The win was a testament to the Bears’ work on defense, second-year coach Matt Logue said. Selma, after a first-round bye, rolled to a 55-0 win over No. 8 Wasco in last week’s quarterfinals.
“The players have done a great job all year of really buying in, studying, watching film and paying attention to scouting reports,” Logue said. “That’s what it all comes down to. How we prepare is how we come out on Friday night.”
The Bears are now one more week of preparation away from history.
“We’ve talked about it for a while now,” Logue said. “Once we got past Kingsburg (in the regular-season finale), we talked about how it’s one game at a time now. We have one goal at the end that we’re all striving for, and there’s not a whole lot to say. We’ll enjoy this, but we’ve got to come back next week and hopefully get it done.”