Hilmar High football head coach Frank Marques said Friday’s 47-28 win over Ripon Christian High in the semifinal felt surreal after the Yellowjackets punched their ticket to their third straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VI Championship game behind a full team effort.
“Just a great team effort and I am just so proud of the program and everybody that makes this thing click; it is just a lot of fun to be proud of,” said Marques.
Hilmar has now won six straight games. The Yellowjackets have not lost since Sept. 27 when they fell to Escalon, 34-21.
Prior to Friday’s game, RC had allowed just 50 points in the past 11 games. On Friday, they allowed 47.
RC has lost just three games over the past two seasons, two to Hilmar. The Knights close out the year with a 10-2 overall record.
Hilmar’s overall record improves to 11-1.
“They are a really good program, it is just one of those things that we got ahead, got up on them early and they fought back,” said Marques. “You have to give them a lot of credit, they kept fighting and battling, kids played hard all game, it was competitive and a good football game. We just happen to get up on them quick.”
Hilmar’s Cole Bailey scored the first touchdown of the game after he ran it in from six yards out with 7:39 left in the first to go up 7-0.
Joseph Davis (Olsson-Foley) then snagged a pick-six from RC quarterback Nolan Lingley and returned it 22-yards to go up 13-0 less than two minutes later.
Hilmar’s special teams blocked a field goal to start the second quarter before they marched down for a 13-play scoring drive that ended with a Justin Barros touchdown run from 12-yards out to make it 20-0.
Bailey scored his second touchdown of the first half when he completed a three-play scoring drive after he ran it in from three-yards out and the score read 27-0 with 3:43 left in the second.
RC got their first of four touchdowns just before halftime after Sean McGovern ran it in from six-yards out with 2:02 left till halftime.
Sophomore kicker Andre Alves then drilled a 29-yard field goal just before the half and the halftime score read 30-7.
McGovern scored his second touchdown to start the third, after RC put up another seven in their first possession of the second half after running it in from 47-yards out and the score read, 30-14.
Steven Silva ran it in from one-yard out with 3:48 left in the third and the ‘Jackets extended their lead to 37-14.
Lucas Cardoso then picked off Lingley with 1:29 left in the third and returned it for a 65-yard score and the ‘Jackets went up 44-14.
Lingley scored the third touchdown for RC after he caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Van Groningen to make it 44-21 with 11:12 left in the game.
Alves drilled a 42-yard field goal with 7:42 left in the game to go up 47-21.
McGovern scored a four-yard touchdown with 2:41 left and the game ended, 47-28.
“Third quarter got a little sloppy and we could have done better, but I think overall I am happy with the win. How many times you get to beat a quality program like Ripon Christian, it is another day and now we have to prepare for Escalon,” said Marques.
No. 2 Hilmar will next take on No. 1 Escalon from Lincoln High of Stockton at a time yet to be announced next Friday. For the latest bracket updates visit cifsjs.org.
“I love playing Escalon… Escalon, they are our arch rivals, we have had those battles through the years,” Marques added.