As has been the case all season, there was just no stopping Tulare High’s Emoryie Edwards and Kazmeir Allen.
The explosive juniors combined for six touchdowns as The Bee’s 19th-ranked Tribe defeated rival Tulare Western 48-27 to win the East Yosemite League title and the 52nd annual Bell Game before a sellout crowd at Bob Mathias Stadium estimated at 5,700.
Tulare (9-1) and Tulare Western (7-3) each entered the regular-season finale 4-0 in EYL play for the second straight year. The Mustangs won 20-17 last season, while the Tribe now lead the series 37-15.
“We fell short last year by three points, and I didn’t like that feeling at all,” Edwards said. “So I tried to come out tonight and ball out.”
Edwards caught touchdown passes of 36 and 49 yards from Nathan Lamb in the second half as the Tribe pulled away for their seventh straight victory. Tulare will learn its seeding for the Division II playoffs – expected to be as high as two or three by Tribe coach Darren Bennett – on Saturday when pairings for the Central Section’s six divisions are announced.
We fell short last year by three points, and I didn’t like that feeling at all. So I tried to come out tonight and ball out.
Tulare’s Emoryie Edwards, who helped the Tribe avenge a 20-17 loss in last season’s Bell Game by catching touchdown passes of 30, 36 and 49 yards in a 48-27 victory over Tulare Western.
The 49-yarder, Edwards’ third touchdown of the night, saw the 6-foot, 190-pounder break several tackles on his way to the end zone, part of an eight-catch, 165-yard performance. Edwards entered the game with 75 catches for 1,220 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“When I get the ball, I don’t go down on first contact,” Edwards said. “I try to stay on my feet and get those yards.”
Allen also scored twice in the second half, a 35-yard run with 11:15 remaining in the game that put Tulare ahead by two scores, and a 6-yard run to seal the outcome with 1:36 left.
It capped a 23-carry, 151-yard night for Allen, a 5-9, 165-pounder who entered the game with 1,497 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season.
“It started at practice,” Allen said. “We worked hard for this.”
Tulare scored on its first three possessions while building a 21-14 halftime lead.
The Tribe bolted out to a 14-0 advantage on a 5-yard Allen touchdown run and a 30-yard scoring pass from Lamb to Edwards.
Tulare Western made it 14-7 on a 5-yard touchdown run by David Alcantar before the Tribe responded with a 20-yard scoring pass from Lamb to Josh Guerrero.
Andre Aguilar scored on an 8-yard run off what looked to be a broken pass play as the Mustangs made it 21-14 with 37 seconds left in the second quarter.
Tulare Western also got an 8-yard touchdown run from Alcantar and an 80-yard scoring pass from Aguilar to Keshon Butler in the second half.
“We had a great week of practice,” Bennett said. “The kids played hard and executed what we practiced. Practice hard and good things happen. (Edwards and Allen) played great, but the young quarterback (Lamb) did a great job tonight; really, really played well, and our defense played well in the second half.”