The San Joaquin Memorial High Panthers finished an undefeated regular season Friday night with a 41-25 victory over visiting Sanger.
The Panthers (10-0, 5-0 County/Metro Athletic Conference) head into the Central Section Division III playoffs as the defending champions.
Sanger (7-3, 3-2) fell into a three-way tie for second in the CMAC with Bullard (4-6, 3-2) and Edison (5-5, 3-2) after Bullard beat Edison 42-7 in another regular-season finale.
Sanger started strong, scoring on the second snap of the game when running back Kosi Agina ran down the sideline 66 yards for a touchdown. He also scored on an 81-yard run as the Apaches took a 19-14 halftime lead. The Sanger pass rush kept Memorial quarterback Alec Trujillo from being able to sit back in the pocket and find open receivers.
Panthers coach Anthony Goston said the Apaches “were doing a good job in the first half showing over here and coming over here and so we were switching the protection to where we thought they were coming. Once we cleared that up and said, ‘Listen, they are showing this but coming with this, stay with the protection,’ it got cleaned up.”
Memorial scored 27 straight points in the second half, including a 5-yard TD run by Trujillo, his 11-yard TD pass to Jalen McMillan and a 26-yard interception return for a TD by defensive back Joshua Kelly.
“Being CMAC champions was only our first goal. Our next goal is Valley and after that, State,” Trujillo said. “But we just have to take it one game at a time and keep going.”