The longer Sanger High keeps its perfect season intact, the more Apaches do-it-all football player Jalen Cropper continues to impress while getting noticed more and more.
Cropper, the 6-foot-1, 150-pound sophomore who in the past month has attracted the attention of several Pacific-12 coaches, set the tone Friday night in top-seeded Sanger’s 56-9 thumping of No. 5 Sunnyside in a Central Section Division II semifinal at Tom Flores Stadium.
Cropper stripped the ball on the opening kickoff and returned it for a 15-yard touchdown en route to scoring four touchdowns on the night – each on a big play.
Cropper also returned an interception 35 yards for a score and busted loose for touchdown runs of 60 and 50 yards.
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Cropper finished with 184 rushing yards on just five carries.
“He’s been amazing for us all year,” Apaches coach Chuck Shidan said. “He’s started to get a lot of attention.”
Sanger (12-0) advanced to the section final for the 12th time in school history and will face No. 6 Ridgeview (7-5) next week.
The Apaches last won a section title in 2003.
Sanger tied its season-high for points scored, and it was the eighth time this season the Apaches have won by 30 or more points.
Sanger running back Andrew Azua finished with 66 rushing yards, including touchdown runs from 11 and 3 yards out.
Apaches quarterback Jacob Tijerina found Christian Graney for a 31-yard scoring strike.
Sunnyside quarterback Nate Hughes completed 13 of 30 passes for 92 yards and one score.