High School Football

Defending champion Memorial starts playoffs with running-clock victory

San Joaquin Memorial advances in Central Section playoffs

San Joaquin Memorial advances to the Central Section Division III football semifinal after a 57-23 win over San Luis Obispo Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 in Fresno.
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San Joaquin Memorial advances to the Central Section Division III football semifinal after a 57-23 win over San Luis Obispo Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 in Fresno.

San Joaquin Memorial High got off to a rolling start to defending its Central Section Division III football championship Friday night.

The top-seeded Panthers (11-0) blasted visiting San Luis Obispo 57-23 in a game that featured a running clock for the entire second half after Memorial built a 57-3 halftime lead.

California rules call for a running clock after a team holds a 40-point lead in the second half.

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San Joaquin Memorial’s Konner Gomness, bottom, hoists running back Eric Hirata after he scores a touchdown against San Luis Obispo in the Central Section Division III playoffs Friday night, Nov. 9, 2018 in Fresno. San Joaquin Memorial led 57-3 at halftime and won 57-23. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA ezamora@fresnobee.com

Memorial capped its first-half onslaught with a safety and had two other defensive touchdowns to overwhelm San Luis Obispo.

The Panthers next host No. 4 Mt. Whitney, which eased past No. 5 Madera 36-29.

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Upsets

Three high seeds tumbled in Week 2 of the playoffs.

Porterville, the No. 1 seed in D-IV, lost 20-7 to No. 8 Wasco in the quarterfinals.

Orange Cove, No. 2 in D-VI, lost 25-20 to No. 6 Sierra Pacific in the semifinals. Sierra Pacific bumped off No. 3 Orosi last week.

And No. 7 Stockdale beat No. 2 Tulare Western 16-15 Thursday night in the D-II quarterfinals. Elijah Hudson recovered a fumble in the end zone with 4:59 left in the third quarter, and Duane Hartman’s ensuing extra point was the game-winner for Stockdale.

Stockdale quarterback Evan Burkhart scored his team’s only offensive touchdown and rushed 23 times for 115 yards. Western’s Tairyn Johnson had 170 yards rushing and one touchdown.

Western intercepted four passes, two by Anthony Cervantes.

Western had gone 9-0 before losing two straight including the rivalry game against Tulare Union.

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