Chowchilla’s unique shotgun, double-wing offense caused havoc throughout the year, confusing defenses with its multitude of misdirection runs and occasionally incorporating big-play passes off play-action.
But for the past two weeks, the Redskins offense had stalled and averaged just 21 points compared to 40.2 points through the first nine contests.
Coach Alex Pittz throughout the week stressed focus and finishing drives.
His Redskins responded – not with slow, methodical drives often associated with the run-oriented double-wing systems – but with explosive plays.
On the ground. Through the air. Even on special teams.
No. 4 Chowchilla scored all seven of its touchdowns from at least 20 yards out and received a four-touchdown performance from running back Anthony Stewart to eliminate No. 9 Kerman 46-27 in the semifinals of the Central Section Division IV playoffs Friday at Henry Massaro Stadium.
The Redskins (10-2) return to the section title game for the first time since winning the section title in 2008 and will face No. 2 Washington (9-3).
“It’s been a long road back,” Pittz said. “These guys have worked so hard. It’s great for them to be rewarded for their effort.”
We keep talking about finishing drives. We haven’t done a great job the last couple of weeks of finishing drives. That was the focus the whole night and we finally did it.
Chowchilla coach Alex Pittz
Stewart scored on a 60-yard punt return, a 30-yard catch and touchdown runs of 36 and 34 yards. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior, who has drawn interest from UNLV, finished with 18 carries for 133 yards.
“Just looking for that ring, trying to go out hard my senior year,” Stewart said. “Everybody just wants it and our linemen go hard every play.”
Fellow running back Alex Gutierrez ran for 88 yards on seven carries, including a 40-yard touchdown. And running back Danny Chavez carried the ball seven times for 67 yards, including a 51-yard score.
38.7 Average distance of a Chowchilla touchdown Friday against Kerman
In addition, Chowchilla quarterback Ryan Selby completed 4 of 5 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns (20 and 30 yards) while often operating off play-action and rollouts.
“It’s real hard to defend because you have different weapons and the ball is coming misdirection,” Kerman coach Anthony Taylor said. “They’re a double threat.”
Next up for Chowchilla is a Washington team that defeated the Redskins 30-12 during the regular season.
But that’s also the game that one of the Redskins’ top players, Gutierrez, went down early in the first quarter with a broken arm. Friday marked his second game back from his return.
“I like the way we played,” Stewart said. “We want that ring.”