It was a battle of last year’s section runner-ups in San Benito and Hilmar High on Friday night.
In their second preseason game of the year, the Hilmar Yellowjackets were shut out by Division I powerhouse San Benito High (Hollister) at home on Friday by a score of 42-0.
Last year’s Division I Central Coast Section runner-ups came into Hilmar with only one thing on their minds—to play the run game—which led to 318 first half rushing yards and by the game's end the Haybalers tallied 396 on the ground.
Despite the effective ground play from the Haybalers and the struggles for the Yellowjackets on both sides, Hilmar head coach Frank Marques took some positives from meeting a bigger school like Hollister.
“I think the positive thing is that it is a game under our belts, and a game we will be better at and I think when we play teams that are our caliber we will be ready for them,” said Marques.
Coming off last weeks’ tight 10-7 victory over Livingston, the Yellowjackets knew they would have their hands full against a consistent team like Hollister who has had the same head coach for the past 21 seasons in Chris Cameron.
Cameron and his squad have always been a power running team that is effective, consistent and plays hard-nosed football.
“We are just looking at the fact at what we can take from this, obviously, there is always something to learn from this type of game so we will break down film and just try to get ready for next week’s game against Sonora,” said Marques.
The visitors from Hollister didn’t stop their game plan against last year’s Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section runner-ups as they marched down the field in the opening drive of the game and scored in less than three minutes.
Hilmar tried on countless occasions to get a drive going but the Haybalers defense was relentless and swarmed the ball anywhere it went.
Hilmar quarterback Jonathan O’Brien was consistently under pressure and ended the night with an inconsistent 8 for 18 night with 119 yards in the air and two interceptions.
On two occasions, Hilmar saw an open receiver down the field but the inexperienced ‘Jacket receivers were unable to bring the ball down as they saw the Hollister defense waiting to commit the hit.
“Their line [Hollister] was just massive and they were pushing us around but we knew that, it’s just one of the things we need to keep working different people in to help with that,” Marques said. “We had people put in the second half that did a good job and we can build off that.”
Hollister grinded the ball down the ‘Jackets throats and by the end of the half the score read 35-0.
With changes made in the second, the ‘Jackets settled down but a 21-yard touchdown pass with eight minutes left in the third was the last score the defense would allow.
“We knew our preseason would be a bear,” Marques said. “Really, it is just getting the right combination of people and if we can find that then we should be ok.”
The closest that Hilmar came to scoring was in the fourth quarter with under nine minutes, but O’Brien fumbled inside the 10-yard line for his third turnover of the game and from there it was all said and done.
“We will just keep doing the best we can but the ultimate goal still is to win another league title and so if we're still healthy by league then we will be fine,” said Marques.
Hilmar will host Sonora High at 7:30 p.m. next Friday.