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Hilmar cruises past Gustine into big matchup with Sonora
Hilmars Xavier Burke, who is normally a defensive lineman, rushed for 77 yards on 11 carries in Fridays 39-14 win over Gustine. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Coming off a two-point upset victory the prior week, Hilmar’s varsity football team carried that momentum into their week three home matchup with Gustine, last year’s Southern Athletic League runner-ups.

Although it wasn’t the prettiest game for either side, the Yellowjackets were able to take control from the onset as they dominated the game in the first half, gaining 375 yards of total offense en route to a 39-14 final.

“There is always room for improvement,” said Hilmar senior Joey Pereira. “We didn’t play our best game but also not much to say… we just need to practice harder for next week since we have Sonora then and all I can say is we have to keep grinding and keep our heads up.”

“We knew Gustine wouldn’t be our toughest opponent of the year but we didn’t want to underestimate them because you get upsets all the time and we didn’t want that to happen,” said Hilmar captain Cody Rentfro.

Rentfro was the staple of the team once again, especially after running back Josh Jennings was ruled out for the year with a knee injury.

Rentfro had no problem stepping in for his teammate after gaining 94 rushing yards for the game on 15 carries, including two touchdowns.

“We practiced for Gustine but we've been practicing more for Sonora since we know they are such a big competitor and it’s going to be a dog fight next week,” said Rentfro.

But before next week, the ‘Jackets knew they couldn’t get ahead of themselves and take Gustine lightly.

After a great opening kickoff return from Isaac Sharp of Hilmar, quarterback Chase Kindberg tossed an interception at the corner of the end zone on the first drive for the first and only turnover of the game.

Hilmar scored on their next five possessions and went into the half leading 29-0.

They held Gustine to just 35 total yards of offense in the first half.

Gustine scored twice in the second half but Hilmar’s defense was able to fend them off in the end.

“I think we came out a little bit flat when we should have just been busting butt,” said Hilmar’s Klay Farris, who finished with two touchdown receptions.

Hilmar’s offense combined for 515 yards and is now 3-0 to begin the year.

Xavier Burke, who is normally a defensive lineman, also played a big role on offense after tallying 77 yards on 11 carries.

Hilmar will next take on a heavy favorite Sonora (3-0) team which has outscored their first three opponents, 158-35. The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday.