Running back Andrew Azúa scored on runs of 52 and 38 yards, Jalen Cropper added a pair as well and top-seeded Sanger High made it 201 wins and still counting for 27-year coach Chuck Shidan in the Apaches’ opener of the Central Section Division II playoffs Friday night.
The Apaches, after an opening-round bye, improved to 11-0 with a 42-6 quarterfinal win over No. 8 Dinuba at Tom Flores Stadium.
Sanger saw its shutout bid end when the Emperors scored with 2 minutes remaining in a fourth quarter that began with a running clock.
Seeking its sixth section title, Sanger will host No. 5 Sunnyside (9-2) in a Nov. 25 semifinal.
Azúa topped the 2,000-yard rushing mark and continued to close on a 30-touchdown season. He entered with 1,970 rushing yards and 26 TDs.
The Apaches are averaging 42.4 points per game, having triggered the running clock mercy rule seven times this season. Usually competing in different divisions for the postseason, Sanger and Dinuba (8-4) met for the first time on the football field since 1964.
It looked like an even match during a scoreless first quarter, but the game quickly turned. Sanger erupted for 28 second-quarter points and made it six straight touchdowns stretching into the third.
Dinuba’s Gustavo Villarreal passed 3 yards to Nathan Carrion for the Emperors’ score.
Sunnyside 66, Tulare 55 – The No. 5 Wildcats (9-2) beat the No. 4 Tribe (9-2) in a track meet at Bob Mathias Stadium in Tulare.
At one point, the teams combined for five touchdowns in a 2-minute span during the fourth quarter.
Sunnyside – scoring the most points it has had in a game in at least 12 seasons – pulled away from a 15-15 tie on a 67-yard touchdown reception by Tyren McIntyre and Marcus Hawkins’ 7-yard run and 2-point conversion, and the Wildcats were never headed. Their lead was 37-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
Ridgeview 42, Redwood 21 – Jamar Moya scored three touchdowns and Jaleyn Prevost two to lead the No. 6 Wolfpack (6-5) past the No. 3 Rangers (9-2) at Mineral King Bowl in Visalia.
Redwood got touchdown passes from Frankie Ayon (14 yards to Kobe Garner) and Hector Gonzalez (16 yards to Michael Harris III) to take a 14-6 lead. After Ridgeview tied it, Harris returned an interception for a touchdown and a 21-14 Rangers lead.
But Prevost caught a 24-yard touchdown pass on his knees on the final play of the first half to tie it, then had an 82-yard catch-and-run for a score late in the third quarter that put the Wolfpack ahead to stay and into a semifinal against another West Yosemite League team in seventh-seeded El Diamante.
El Diamante 29, Garces 28 – Quarterback Parker Boswellscored on a 1-yard run with 33 seconds left to pull the Miners within one point and then seconds later fired a winning 2-point conversion pass to beat the Rams in Bakersfield.
“Honestly, this one hurt us,” Garces running back Isaiah Martin told The Bakersfield Californian. “We never lost at home. I don’t know what to say. I’m speechless right now.”
Second-seeded Garces (7-4) appeared to have the quarterfinal at Sam Tobias Field well in hand after pulling ahead 28-14 on Joseph Tobias’ third touchdown pass of the game with 9:14 to play.
But seventh-seeded El Diamante (6-5) made some big plays down the stretch, including a 42-yard TD pass from Boswell to Derek Hernandez, while the Rams struggled with mistakes on both sides of the ball late.
“I’m not going to say those guys didn’t earn it,” Garces coach A.J. Gass said. “They came out here and they executed their game plan exactly the way we thought. ... They made some really big plays and that was a great game by them.”
Leading 28-21 following Hernandez’s long touchdown reception, Garces quickly gave El Diamante the ball back in good field position after Rams punter Chris Coleman tried to run for the first down after he couldn’t initially handle a high snap from center.
With their season on the line, the Miners started their winning drive at the Garces 47-yard line and mixed in six runs for 15 yards and a 32-yard pass play to set up the winning score.
“I thought we played very well,” El Diamante coach Mark Rogers said. “Garces is a very good football team. Our kids played super and did a great job and we were fortunate enough to win the game.”
The Miners’ three-headed rushing attack of Tyler Youngblood, DeVonte Freeman, and Drake Beano totaled 180 yards on 42 attempts.
Bakersfield 44, Buchanan 14 – The seventh-seeded Bears’ playoff run ended with their worst defeat of the year, as Buchanan fell behind 21-0 after one quarter and never closed that gap on the second-seeded Drillers.
Buchanan (7-5), which concluded its first season under former NFL player Matt Giordano, trailed by as many as 38 points to a Bakersfield team (9-2) that has scored at least 42 points in each of its past six games.
Prior to Friday, the Bears’ biggest loss was a 35-14 defeat to Liberty on Sept. 16. Now, Bakersfield and Liberty will meet in a semfinal at Bakersfield College’s Memorial Stadium.
Quarterback Nolan LeForge was responsible for both of Buchanan’s scores, passing to Jack Wilkins in the second quarter and to Blake Wells in the fourth.
Liberty-Bakersfield 33, Clovis North 28 – Brent Bailey and Jordan Ayerza guided the sixth-seeded Broncos to a huge comeback and brief lead, but the No. 3 Patriots got some late magic to advance to a semifinal meeting against their Southwest Yosemite League rivals.
Trailing 28-27, Liberty (8-3) forced a Broncos turnover on a bad snap with 2:08 to play at the Clovis North 23-yard line to set up a one-handed 10-yard touchdown reception by Johnny Balderas from Isaiah Hill. The Patriots’ 2-point conversion failed and they got an interception from Sean Pascoe to seal it.
“When I caught the ball, everything was in slow motion,” Balderas told The Bakersfield Californian. “It was amazing. I was just happy I made the catch.”
Down 21-0 after the first quarter, Clovis North (6-6) got on the scoreboard in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Ayerza and a 71-yard touchdown pass by Bailey to Brock Jones that made it 21-14 with 3:51 to go before halftime. Ayerza tied things up in the third quarter with a 1-yard score and Bailey ran in a touchdown from 29 yards out to give Clovis North its first lead of the game with 5:08 to play.
Bailey threw for 303 yards and rushed for another 106.
“Hats off Clovis North and coach (Casey) Quinn,” Liberty coach Bryan Nixon said. “Those kids battled, man. It could have gone either way.”
Bakersfield beat Liberty 44-17 in their league finale Nov. 4.
Bakersfield Christian 51, Fresno 21 – The Eagles’ (10-1) offense proved too much for the Warriors (8-4) to handle, scoring seven touchdowns.
The Eagles scored on their first two drives to lead 14-0 just 2 minutes into the game. Warriors running back Santos Arreola cut the deficit in half with a 10-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. But that double-up pattern continued through the third quarter with Bakersfield Christian scoring two touchdowns for every one Fresno could muster.
Bakersfield Christian will face Memorial in the semifinals.
Memorial 27, South 0 – Demarcus Wilson’s 13-yard run in the first quarter proved to be enough for the third-seeded Panthers (7-5), with the Rebels offense derailed by the loss of dual-threat quarterback Aries Harris early with an apparent leg injury.
Harris was taken off by ambulance with what was reported as an apparent leg injury. He had thrown for 1,300 yards and rushed for 650 more while accounting for 23 total touchdowns (11 passing, 12 rushing) for Southeast Yosemite champ South (9-3).
Michael Alvarez and Alec Trujillo also had touchdown runs for Memorial and Luis Pelayo kicked two field goals.
Second-seeded Tulare Western (a 9-7 victory over No. 7 Tehachapi) and No. 3 Hanford (36-21 over No. 6 Kingsburg) were winners Thursday to set up the other semifinal.
Selma 55, Wasco 0 – The top-seeded Bears picked up where they left off in a perfect regular season, with a pair of Junior Rodriguez 29-yard touchdown passes to Rudy Rodriguez opening the scoring and Joel Aranda’s 46-yard run capping a 21-point first quarter in a rout of the No. 8 Tigers.
It’s just the second playoff win for Selma (11-0) since November 2011. The Bears – whose last section title was a 1954 Sequoia Division crown – snapped a three-year postseason drought a year ago, winning their opener as the sixth seed before losing to eventual D-IV runner-up Washington. Wasco, hurt by a pair of turnovers that set up Selma scores in each of the first two quarters, finishes 8-4.
Rodriguez’s TD throws came less than a minute apart for Selma (11-0), with Chris Romero and JR Ramirez combining on a fumble recovery in between. Aranda’s run came with 3:27 left in the quarter, Rodriguez ran 7 yards for a TD with 10:52 to play in the half, and 19 seconds of game time later Aranda recovered a fumble in the end zone to make it 34-0.
Jordan Dominguez (58 yards) and Tiveon Stroud (46) had long touchdown runs to push the lead to 48-0 at the half. The teams played the second half under a running clock.
Selma will face fourth-seeded Chavez, a 35-14 winner over No. 5 Taft.
Golden West 42, Central Valley Christian 24 – Ryan Cook rushed for three touchdowns and Payton Allen threw two touchdown passes to Ian Kelly to help the No. 2 Trailblazers (10-1) pull away from the No. 10 Cavaliers (5-7) for their sixth straight victory.
JJ Lino had three touchdown passes for CVC, two to Brian Noel and the other to Gavin Salierno.
CVC took on a Visalia Unified football team for the first time, a duel between the Christian school with a CBED enrollment figure of 269 and 1,636-student Golden West.
Golden West will host third-seeded Chowchilla, a 49-7 winner over No. 11 Madera South, in the semifinals.
Mendota 44, Desert 12 – Junior Cardenas’ 31st touchdown pass of the season, a 62-yarder to Julian Cardenas, got the top-seeded Aztecs on the board with 2 minutes to play in the quarter as they cruised to victory in their quarterfinal opener.
The Cardenas connection also clicked for scores of 53 and 4 yards as Mendota raced to a 25-0 lead.
Mendota breezes into the semifinals matchup against No. 4 Sierra (7-5), a 42-27 winner over No. 12 Woodlake
Firebaugh 39, Bishop 28 – The third-seeded Eagles (10-2) trailed 14-0 to the Broncos (6-5) before rallying, taking a 22-14 halftime lead en route to the win, setting up a semifinal home game against Yosemite.
Yosemite 29, Dos Palos 14 – The 10th-seeded Badgers (9-3), who played an independent schedule, scored their second straight road playoff win with a victory over the No. 2 Broncos (7-5).
Yosemite, which knocked off No. 7 Lindsay 36-0 in the first round, pulled away from a 7-7 halftime tie.
Riverdale 28, Tranquillity 6 – Mitch Maggini threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to J.P. Sanchez as the No. 4-seeded Cowboys (8-3) beat the fifth-seeded Tigers (3-8).
Riverdale took the opening kickoff and drove 65 yards to the first score, a 2-yard touchdown run by Fernando Zarate. Tranquillity started its first drive from the 35, too, but stalled on downs at the 12. On the next play, Maggini hit Sanchez.
Joseph Piceno and Ethan Paasch scored on second-half touchdown runs before the Tigers got on the board with a late score by Alexis Guillen.
The Cowboys will visit top-seeded Strathmore, a 28-0 winner over No. 8 Orange Cove.
Third-seeded Kennedy beat No. 6 California City 42-6 and will play at No. 2 Sierra Pacific, a 63-33 winner over seventh-seeded McFarland.
Coaches: Report scores and summaries to firstname.lastname@example.org.